Governor Ron DeSantis stood by his decision to not implement a statewide stay-at-home order in a press briefing on Tuesday, adding that he’ll consider the possibility of a shutdown in the Sunshine State if directed by the White House
“I’m in contact with [the White House] and basically I’ve said, ‘are you guys recommending this?’ The task force has not recommended that to me,” DeSantis said. “If they do, obviously that would be something that would carry a lot of weight with me.”
Speaking to the media for close to 45 minutes in Tallahassee, the governor provided his daily update on the COVID-19 virus, outlining additional measures to fight the virus that includes new ways to test for the disease. DeSantis, however, told reporters that he would not issue a mandatory shutdown unless recommended by the White House coronavirus task force.
Gov. DeSantis: The White House coronavirus task force has not recommended a statewide shutdown in Florida in response to #COVID19 pandemic. https://t.co/m11wBCdE08 pic.twitter.com/ogZc9GZffv
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) March 31, 2020
DeSantis, who has been lambasted by the political left for not issuing stringent orders similar to California and New York, has used caution during the growing pandemic — choosing to keep Florida’s economy afloat while other states with mandatory orders continue to tank.
DeSantis’ divisive decision to protect the business community in the state comes as a record number of 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week — with many smaller states filing more jobless claims than Florida. Economists expect another surge of unemployment claims this week, with business insiders estimating an escalation of 3.5 million claims when the next report is released on Thursday.
The governor also questioned the effectiveness of shelter-in-place orders, saying his decision last week to close beaches in South Florida has been largely ignored by young people not taking the outbreak seriously.
“The southeast Florida folks asked me to close their beaches so we did in one of our earlier orders. I was flying out of Miami yesterday looking at the coast. Guess what? ‘Closed beaches?’ Were there people out there? You’re damn right there were,” he said. “No matter what you do, you’re going to have a class of folks who do whatever the hell they want to.”
DeSantis: “I was flying out of Miami yesterday, looking at the coast. Guess what? ‘Closed beach?’ Were there people out there? You’re damn right there were…No matter what, you’re going to have a class of folks who do whatever the hell they want to.” https://t.co/m11wBCdE08 pic.twitter.com/kuZG63Wb7Q
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) March 31, 2020
DeSantis also discussed efforts to expand testing in the state, citing the importance of issuing faster and more effective tests.
“We are increasing testing at a very fast rate. Today’s numbers — I think we’re over 60,000 tests, and most of those are over the last two and a half weeks,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said he also believes hospitals in the state will soon be receiving five-minute tests from Abbott Laboratories, which have been viewed as a turning point in fighting the outbreak.
“They’ll continue to send [hospitals] additional tests every week, so we anticipate each hospital system, we think, is going to get about 2,000 test,” he continued.
Today’s briefing comes as cases of coronavirus continue to rise in Florida. According to the Florida Department of Health (DOH), over 6,700 confirmed cases have been reported in the state, with the death toll climbing to 85.
the presidents team talked about more tests on different platforms are available to the states and that the task force team would be reaching out to the governors to discuss using them to help up the testing. I think they said it was 500,000 tests available currently. hopefully they are not all the ones that tend to take a long time to get results. I think if we could test more people to give the people more reassurance that our federal guidelines in place are adequate for the state would help. Lock down in area’s of concern like south Florida and some of the area’s that are spiking is the best way to go.