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Florida has 704,568 cases with 14,313 deaths; Palm Beach County has 46,485 cases with 1,371 deaths.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks July 11 during a COVID-19 press conference at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton. (Photo: HERALD-TRIBUNE STAFF PHOTO / THOMAS BENDER)

Seniors and school children will be the beneficiaries of more than 6.4 million rapid-result coronavirus tests that will soon be arriving in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference Tuesday.

In a development the state’s emergency manager heralded as “a game-changer” in the fight against the deadly virus, the federal government has begun delivering the tests to the state’s roughly 4,000 long-term care facilities, DeSantis said.

On top of that, the state by Friday will get its first shipment of 400,000 of the antigen tests. They are similar to pregnancy tests and can deliver results in about 15 minutes.

More: Coronavirus Florida: Latest charts and case counts

With nursing homes being taken care of by the federal government, DeSantis said he plans to send the state’s share of the tests to senior centers, large retirement communities and schools.

Keith Myers, president and CEO of Morselife Health System, said the West Palm Beach nursing home and assisted living center already received 200 of the test kits and expects another 200 will arrive soon so he can test his entire staff.

“This is like a gift,” he said, “It’s made it a much easier process and you don’t have to wait 48 hours for the results.” 

The only rub for some in line to get the tests is that under current guidelines they have to be administered by a nurse. DeSantis said he’s hoping to get a waiver from federal health officials so the tests can be given by other trained personnel.

“Quite frankly, this isn’t a good use of a nurse’s time,” DeSantis said, holding up one of the credit-card-sized tests that can fit into a pocket.

The Palm Beach County Health Care District, which provides nurses at 167 public schools in the county, said they have been preparing since June for the release of the rapid tests.

School nurses are being trained to administer them, said Robin Kish, spokeswoman for the tax-funded district.

The announcement of the looming arrival of millions of rapid-result tests came as the Florida Health Department reported that the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths spiked again after a two-day drop that often occurs over the weekend.

More: Coronavirus: What happens if your child gets sick? School nurses face Herculean task

Statewide, an additional 3,266 people were diagnosed with the highly contagious respiratory disease, bringing the state’s total case count to 704,568.

An additional 106 deaths were reported, pushing the state’s death toll to 14,313. Late Monday, the number of deaths worldwide passed the 1 million mark, according to a coronavirus tracker operated by Johns Hopkins University.

Palm Beach County notched an additional 175 cases and seven deaths of people ranging in age from 70 to 94. That means 46,485 people