Nikki Fried says a DeSantis staffer leaked info about pile of expired COVID-19 tests

Has someone in the Governor's Office gone rogue?

Photo via Nikki Fried/Twitter
The Governor’s Office isn’t commenting on allegations that someone working for the administration leaked information about undistributed COVID-19 tests to one of Ron DeSantis’ chief political rivals.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried contended during a radio hit Thursday that a DeSantis staffer leaked information about one million expired-but-unused rapid COVID-19 tests to her because he felt it was important to get the information out.

“It was a very high-profile individual in the DeSantis administration,” Fried said during a segment on WJCT’s First Coast Connect.

Asked why someone from the Governor’s Office divulged this information, Fried said the person wanted to ensure information was getting out to the public about the tests that expired while housed by the state last year, ahead of the omicron surge over the holidays.

“Because they were concerned. And it was somebody who wanted to make sure that information was going out. But obviously, I want to protect that individual because I know that this Governor would have him fired — them fired — almost instantaneously, and so I will protect that person’s anonymity. But this person was very clear about what was happening,” Fried said.

Fried offered no further clues about the identity of the alleged leaker. When contacted for comment Thursday morning in the wake of Fried’s comments, Gov. DeSantis’ office offered no response to the Commissioner’s charge.

These tests have already expired twice, but the federal government gave them new life this week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted a new three-month extension to the expiration date of the tests. They first expired in September, after the worst of the delta variant had passed in Florida.

With that extension, the tests are now again available for use in Florida after their December expiration date rendered them unusable for weeks.

Fried was the first to warn the tests had expired in state custody. She has contended the Governor’s handling of the test surplus disqualifies him from office.

“This Governor is not fit to serve,” Fried told reporters in West Palm Beach. “He should have known that this stockpile of tests could have been distributed all throughout the state. This is not only a (dereliction) of responsibility. But this is a complete failure of this Governor.”

We are awaiting comment from the Governor’s Office, and will update this post if events warrant.

This article first appeared at Florida Politics
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