Gov. Ron DeSantis says he was tested for COVID-19 at White House visit

Gov. Ron DeSantis at a COVID-19 roundtable discussion at AdventHealth Orlando on July 28, 2020. Credit: Screenshot, Florida Channel.

Gov. Ron DeSantis revealed Tuesday that he took a COVID-19 rapid test at the White House last week, where he had joined President Donald Trump in a signing ceremony on importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

“I was tested for COVID on Friday at the White House. So anytime you’re going to be in earshot of the president, they have a rapid test,” DeSantis said during Tuesday’s roundtable discussion about COVID-19 at AdventHealth Orlando.

“The typical test is not comfortable,” the governor added.

The Republican governor didn’t mention the results, but a spokesman for DeSantis thinks the test was favorable.

“Well, he attended the event at the White House, so I think it’s safe to say he was negative,” Fredrick Piccolo Jr., DeSantis’ communications director, said in an email to the Florida Phoenix.

During the roundtable, DeSantis praised the hospital for accommodating families whose loved ones have been terminally ill and at “end-of-life” due to complications of the COVID-19.

AdventHealth in Orlando has “allowed the families to come in and be with their loved ones in those final hours or those final days,” the governor said.

“They decided to make that accommodation…I think that has been a big relief to a lot of families, to be able to have that very intimate connection during a very difficult time,” he added. “I think most parts of the country, they don’t have the ability to be with family in some of those really difficult end-of-life situations.”

Doctors at AdventHealth Orlando also expressed optimism during the roundtable about COVID-19 patients in Florida recovering from the illness, saying they’ve been using a variety of treatments including the antiviral drug remdesivir, steroids and convalescent plasma.

“We are glad to see our mortality is below national average,” Dr. Eduardo Oliveira of AdventHealth Orlando said, adding that 95 percent of patients who are hospitalized due to COVID will survive.

“Although it’s never a positive to have anyone succumb to this illness, I think that we have seen improved outcomes over time,” he said.