Gov. Ron DeSantis issues statewide order for Floridians to stay-at-home amid COVID-19 pandemic.
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The stay-at-home order was initially imposed only on South Florida, where 60 percent of the state’s coronavirus cases are located DeSantis explained.
“We expanded it statewide when the president extended the [federal] guidance to 30 days [Tuesday]. We said, ‘Look, the country is paused. We’ve got to defeat this,’ so I felt it was prudent to extend it statewide.”
At least 34 states have issued stay-at-home orders. Florida is the third most populous state in the country, with about 21.6 million residents.
As of Wednesday evening, Florida had 7,773 confirmed cases of the virus and 101 deaths.
Addressing concerns about Florida’s older population, DeSantis assured viewers that he is “taking strong measures to protect our seniors immediately.”
“When this crisis started, we went in and locked down nursing homes, we issued strong regulations, we’ve sent all the workers N95 masks and we’ve asked seniors from the very beginning to stay at home as long as they can,” he said.
“We are finding with this, the lower the ages in terms of the infection, the better the overall outcome. The more it starts to skew older, that’s when you get more hospitalizations and unfortunately, that’s where you get more fatalities.”
DeSantis suspects that many Floridians may have become infected after tourists from across the country visited the state for February’s Super Bowl in Miami, but the lack of available testing at the time made it difficult to track.
“I can tell you in terms of how this has spread in Florida, we think it’s Floridians who traveled internationally and brought it back, international travelers who came to Florida, people from New York who have come to Florida, and then Floridians who have gone to New York City and brought it back. Those are the main ways where this thing really took root in Florida,” he said.
DeSantis added that while there “wasn’t a lot of testing being done in February,” his state has since ramped up testing capabilities and has conducted more than 70,000 tests to date.
“We hope to hit 100,000 next week … ,” he said, “which is about what South Korea did and they were lauded for their testing.”
DeSantis also emphasized that while his statewide stay-at-home order which goes into effect Thursday permits “essential activities,” travelers from coronavirus hot spots, such as New York City and New Orleans, will be asked to self isolate for 14 days.
“We just want everyone to be safe,” he said.