Mar 30, 2020

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Coronavirus Update March 30: Orders Southeast Floridians to Stay at Home Until Mid-May

Ron DeSantis Coronavirus Update Transcript Florida
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis Coronavirus Update March 30: Orders Southeast Floridians to Stay at Home Until Mid-May

Florida governor Ron DeSantis provided updates on March 30 for the state. He ordered Southeast Floridians to stay at home through mid-May. Full transcript here:

 

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Ron DeSantis: (00:00)
Populated part of the state. You have a community here in Miami International that receives a lot of international travel, certainly has over the last few months. Then you have a lot of interaction between South Florida and New York City. That has provided more seeds to have the virus in Southeast Florida. With this order and what these counties have already done, now we’re going guns blazing, doing all that we can to be able to slow the spread of COVID-19. I will say, I think a lot of the actions that you’ve seen with the mayor and with Broward, particularly… I think some of these have been effective. I think you’ll see that as we get going over the next couple of days and weeks. I want to thank all of them for their leadership. Thanks for the great collaboration that they’ve had with the state of Florida. I also want to thank the federal government for supporting some of the initiatives that we have going on down here. One of the things I also want to announce today is there’s a lot of concern about manpower, whether it’s law enforcement, whether it’s healthcare personnel. You could have somebody that gets exposed to the virus. They have to self-isolate. Their contacts have to self-isolate. That creates a potential manpower issue. I’m also going to sign an executive order today to allow recently retired law enforcement and healthcare personnel to immediately return to the workforce to join the fight against COVID-19. Current law in Florida prohibits personnel that retire from the state workforce from returning to work for six months from the date of retirement. I will suspend that prohibition. We need to have folks who are willing to come return to service.

Ron DeSantis: (01:43)
Also, just want to mention, we have procured for the state of Florida from Teva Pharmaceuticals, the hydroxychloroquine, which has been used successfully, anecdotally in different parts of the world, really, but here in the United States. Just yesterday, the FDA approved its use under the right circumstances for COVID-19 patients. That’s already been distributed to hospitals in South Florida. We want the physicians to be able to have the opportunity to do that if a patient comes in as an infected. That can make a difference.

Ron DeSantis: (02:18)
We’ve also deployed the first rapid COVID-19 tests to South Florida. This is a 45-minute rapid test. We’ve sent 1,750 to Memorial Healthcare System in Broward. We’ve also sent 500 to Northern Florida. We hope to have, very soon, an agreement to bring in the five-minute tests developed by Abbott Laboratories. We’ve asked for a lot of those tests. As soon as we get them, we will deploy those strategically in the fight against COVID-19.

Ron DeSantis: (02:51)
If you look at Florida’s numbers, we’ve seen a huge increase in testing over the last three weeks. We’re going to continue doing that. We think it’s very, very important. We’ve worked on this Hard Rock site here in Miami-Dade. We did a site, the National Guard, in conjunction with Memorial Healthcare in Broward. We’re going to now, tomorrow, open up a site with the National Guard and Palm Beach County in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County is a distant third in infections, behind Miami and Broward, but they’ve not had the same level of testing, so we think it’s really important to flood the zone in Palm Beach with testing.

Ron DeSantis: (03:28)
This site, I think, will be able to be a drive- through site where you’re going to be able to get a lot of the residents be able to go through in a timely matter. Once we get the rapid test, people will be able to get results sooner. Unfortunately, we still have to send the swabs to the laboratory, but we have definitely done a lot in terms of the testing and then just updates with the travel into Florida. The CMS… Or, excuse me. CDC issued travel advisory for the New York City area about traveling to other parts of the country. That was something we were seeing last week after the stay-in-place was issued by the governor there. We have a system where people are coming in. They’re screened. Information is taken. They provide the residents where they’ll be isolating for 14 days. We think that that helps protect Florida residents. Also, doing it on I-10, coming into the Florida Panhandle for a potential New Orleans exodus, and 95 South, from Georgia into the state of Florida.

Ron DeSantis: (04:26)
Another issue that we’re monitoring is the cruise ship coming through the Panama Canal. We think it’s a mistake to be putting people into Southern Florida right now given what we’re dealing with. We would like to have medical personnel simply dispatched to that ship. The cruise lines can hopefully arrange for that, tend to folks who may need medical attention. I think a lot of these are foreign nationals. We want to make sure we have the beds available for the folks here in Southern Florida. We’re always monitoring the hospital space because remember, flattening the curve is making sure that you’re spreading this out enough so that the hospital system can cope with it.

Ron DeSantis: (05:09)
About 30% of the beds in the state of Florida are available right now and a higher percentage in both Broward and Miami-Dade. We have 32.5% percent in Miami. The mayor tells me he thinks it’s even higher than that in terms of available beds. That’s a good thing. Then we’ve also staged field hospitals in Broward and Miami-Dade. I’ve identified other facilities that could be used. We have additional beds if need be. Then the Army Corps of Engineers will also help us if it comes to that.

Ron DeSantis: (05:38)
I would just say the safer at home is the right move for Southeast Florida. This is the time to do the right thing. Listen to all your local officials. We do this until the middle of May, and then we’ll see where we’re at. I think a lot of the stuff that’s been done has been helpful. I think this will continue to be helpful. Hopefully, once we get this thing under control, then we can go back and start enjoying life the way we used to. I want to thank Monroe County. I want to thank Miami-Dade County. I want to thank Broward. I want to thank Palm Beach. We’re all in this together. Let’s continue onward. Safer at home. I give to you our Lieutenant Governor to say a few words.

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette N.: (06:23)
Good morning. Thank you, governor, for your leadership in these very trying times. I’m going to share a few words in Spanish to communicate what the governor has just said. [ Spanish 00:00:06:30]. With that, I will turn it over to my hometown mayor, Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez: (08:24)
Thank you, Lieutenant Governor. It’s always great to have you back home in Miami-Dade County. Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for your leadership. The order you announced today establishes a level of uniformity for all of South Florida so that our residents can clearly understand that we can get back to normal quicker if we all join in this together. I want to thank Broward County mayor, Dale Holness, Palm Beach County mayor, David Kerner, and Monroe County mayor, Heather Carruthers, for joining us today. I also want to thank our Miami Gardens mayor, Oliver Gilbert, for all his support.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez: (08:54)
We’re actually in the city of Miami Gardens here with this testing site that’s located here at the Hard Rock Stadium. Now I’ve been working with the County administrators of Broward, and Monroe, and Palm Beach to share strategies about how to best crush the wave of COVID-19 cases that we’re experiencing. It’s clear this virus has been spreading here in South Florida. It’s also clear that when we’re together, we’re stronger. This is a prolonged health crisis. To eradicate this virus will take many weeks, maybe even months.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez: (09:24)
That’s why the leaders of our four great South Florida counties agree that the key message to our residents must… that we must take personal responsibility, and that they should stay at home as much as possible. We must act like we’re all carrying the virus and stay safer at home. That’s the key message. Safer at home, social distancing, safer at home. Some people have also asked us why our four counties are not in full-emergency activation, which is what would happen in a hurricane when high winds and flooding from torrential rain are expected. This is a health emergency though, and we can not fully shut down for a month or two. Imagine having to provide food, medicine, other essential services for weeks on end to serve seven-plus million residents. It’s over third of Florida’s entire population.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez: (10:08)
Our four counties also have looked at particular situations and found that there is no need to have a countywide curfew at this time. Some cities in Miami-Dade have imposed curfews, particularly in high-density tourist areas, but in most of our four counties, a curfew is not necessary. Miami-Dade County streets are quiet. We should not overburden our fine men and women of the police force when there’s no need for a curfew. Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for that order today that allows our recently retired police, fire, emergency personnel to come back and serve. Through collaboration and partnership, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties have agreed to stand united so that our residents understand exactly what they must do and why it’s imperative. Again, I also thank the governor for issuing the order that puts the framework for our unity.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez: (10:56)
First, all four counties agree that we are safer at home. That’s the best way to avoid getting infected. When you have to go out to get food, medicines, or other necessities or you’re working in an essential or critical business, you must practice social distancing. I’ve already issued the order. We will close essential businesses. If they don’t take social distancing seriously, we’ll shut you down.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez: (11:19)
Second, we will not activate as if this were a hurricane or a active shooter incident. This is a prolonged health crisis that the CDC experts tells us require strategic steps as conditions warrant. That means we will remain at a level 2 EOC Activation. Third, we’re not calling for county-wide curfews. I’ve consulted with the Florida Department of Health about this, and it’s simply not necessary on a county-wide level. All four counties are on the same boat. I’ve already ordered in Miami-Dade, all parks, beaches, bars, restaurants, hotels, and any other nonessential businesses to close almost two weeks ago. Where are people to go if everything but essential services are closed? You’ll hear more from Broward and Palm Beach County about their efforts, and in Monroe County, where the COVID-19 spread started later. They already are stopping visitors from entering the Keys.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez: (12:10)
Now there may be slight variations in how each county considers critical or what they consider critical or essential, but all four counties are in lockstep. The only way to stop this virus is to act as if everybody is infected. That means stay safer at home. It’s a message that’s in the best interest of our entire South Florida community. We should all be coming together to fight coronavirus because clearly, this global pandemic has no boundaries. This is why this collaboration among our four counties and the state is so important. We’re joining forces. We want everyone to act responsibly. Our decisions are based on the best scientific evidence. Again, stay safer at home. Now I’ll bring forward the mayor of Broward County to say a couple of words. Mr. Mayor, if you could… Thank you.

Mayor Dale Holness: (13:03)
Thank you very much, Mayor Gimenez. We’re facing unprecedented times with this fight against the coronavirus, COVID-19. It’s bringing the best out in many of us. This collaborative effort that is being undertaken here today with Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe County didn’t start here today. It’s been ongoing for some time. Our staff, our administrators have been working together for us to deal with this together. We are truly working as a unit here in South Florida. I want to thank the governor for his support of all our efforts and all that he’s done to provide the resources that we need here in South Florida. Also, would like to thank the federal government for signing that $2 trillion bill that now brings help along the way to those most hurt, or small business, or low-income wage earner.

Dale Holness: (14:03)
Or small business or low income wage earners are facing the brunt of this severe economic downturn as a result of this health crisis that we face here and I believe that we’re living up to the creed of our country, e pluribus unum, of many one, this virus knows no party affiliation, it knows no ethnicity. It doesn’t matter your economic status. It affects us all and we are in this together and clearly what’s being done today is that we’re demonstrating that. For small businesses, there’s loan programs that are available now through SBA, the Florida Disaster Relief Loan Program is also up and running. Take advantage of that and those who are unemployed, floridajobs.org, you can get help there also.

Dale Holness: (14:52)
Again, I beg everyone to heed the warning of the CDC and of the health providers that you should practice social distancing, practice preventative measures of washing your hands often. It sounds ad nauseum that we’re talking about this continual, but that’s how we fight this virus and together we’re certainly stronger. I thank you all for your support, governor, and for the other counties for joining force together. So we face this virus and beat it. Thank you.

Dave Kerner: (15:27)
Thank you, mayor. My name is Dave Kerner. I have the pleasure of serving as the County Mayor of Palm Beach County and let me start by saying how comforting it is to be here with the leader of our state, our governor, our lieutenant governor, our director of emergency management and all the mayors and county administrators of South Florida. My home that I’m a native from that I love dearly. The governor talked about an aspect of the executive order detailing and relating to law enforcement officers, and the governor also talked about this paradigm shift that’s happening in society as we learn to socially adapt to keep certain distances between each other.

Dave Kerner: (16:07)
And it’s his belief and it’s the belief that I share that our communities have risen to this task and that social distancing and abiding by the CDC guidelines and believing in the strategy to defeat Covid-19 is going to work in is working. This site behind me and the site that we will open in the County of Palm Beach later today is a testament to the protection and concern of not just our communities but also our first responders, and I want you to understand that we have come together as a community.

Dave Kerner: (16:39)
As you look behind us and you look throughout this press conference, there is social distance, there is a recognition of the fierceness of this virus and that the way for us to defeat it as Americans is to come together, and it’s going to get more difficult over time. We’ve adapted over the last few weeks and it will become frustrating, and it will become an inconvenience and one that we want to question validity of. I want you to think about every time you abide by those regulations and guidelines and orders from your local officials and from our governor and from our president. It’s not just investment in the safety of your family and of your colleagues and of your neighbors, but it’s an investment in the safety and welfare of our first responders, our police officers, our firefighters, our healthcare workers, the men and women who have the same daily fears and risks and concerns that you have when they’re at home but then they go back into society and they fight on our behalf.

Dave Kerner: (17:36)
So every time you ask, “Should I do this today? Should I abide? Should I believe in the strategy?” Don’t just do it for your community, do it for the men and women in uniform and in the healthcare profession that keep us safe. Governor, thank you for your leadership during this very critical time. It’s an honor to share the stage with you and your incredible staff. Our community should take great comfort in the incredible working relationships that our local governments have with our state leadership. And I just ask that you continue to keep up the great work sir, thank you.

Heather Carruthers: (18:11)
Good morning, my name is Heather Carruthers. I’m the Mayor of Monroe County, better known as the Florida Keys and I want to start by thanking the governor and all the mayors for pulling this together and especially the administrators and the staff that does most of the real work around here. Certainly in our County, our administrator, Roman [inaudible 00:04:29], working with the administrators from the counties to the north. I have to tell you that my family was a little concerned when they knew that I was traveling from 150 miles away on an island up to the mainland, given this virus. But I felt that it was important to do because this global virus knows no boundaries. Just like most of our residents don’t really know jurisdictions, we work in different areas, we travel to different areas, we are educated in different areas, we go across jurisdictions so that we can get healthcare and needed supplies.

Heather Carruthers: (19:05)
So it’s vital for us all to work together and I’m thrilled that we have this four counties cooperation that frankly was sort of I think really enforced when we started doing the climate compact work all together. So we all have a good working relationship and it’s important for us to know that this is a global and certainly a regional issue that we’re fighting together. Having said that, South Florida, Southeast Florida is an extremely diverse community and each one of our communities has its own character, so we’re all going to respond slightly differently to this, but within the same rubric that we’re all trying to do, which is to let people know that you are safer at home. In the Keys of course, a while ago we did something that we hate doing and that’s telling our visitors that it’s time for you to stay home, reschedule your trip for another time. Our hotels are closed.

Heather Carruthers: (19:55)
Even our marinas to boaters seeking solace for a day or two, any short term stays are simply, this is not the time to do it. We have a checkpoint so that we can remind people who are coming to the Keys that if you don’t live in the Keys or you don’t work in the Keys, this is the time for you to stay home. It’s safer at home. So that’s what we’re asking you to do. Just go out for the essentials, whether it’s food or exercise or to walk the dog or to get medicine. And when you do go out, stay six feet away from the people closest to you, wash your hands, wipe down surfaces. It sounds simple, but this is how we’re going to stop this virus.

Heather Carruthers: (20:33)
We’re a very resilient community down here in Southeast Florida and I think we can set an example for the whole nation in how we’re coming together to fight this. And again, I want to thank the other mayors and our governor for their leadership during this crisis. We’re going to get through this together and we’re going to be stronger together. So stay at home, be safe, love your families, and take care of each other. Thank you.

Ron DeSantis: (20:59)
Well, I want to thank the counties for all their hard work. And I also just want to say and add about safer at home. As you look over the next couple of weeks, every day, where you can make progress against this virus is a huge, huge deal. And the reason is, is once this thing started rearing its head, we saw it in China, there were things that we were monitoring Florida, CDC was monitoring everything, but private industry and innovation have really kicked in over the last month and you have new things coming online it seems like almost every day. You’re going to have, Mayor was talking about the antibody test to try to figure out how many people have had this. I got to believe that this thing was swirling around Miami during the Superbowl. How wide was the infection? How many people are asymptomatic? How many different tests are there going to be where you literally will get the results within five minutes?

Ron DeSantis: (21:54)
So there’s all this innovation that’s happening, so the more you can do now to stop the spread, the greater opportunities you’re going to have to ultimately defeat it because you’re going to have so many more tools at your disposal. We learn more every day as we get in more information, not only at the local level, state level, but what they’re doing in Washington and it allows us to be smarter. But American innovation is ultimately what’s going to win the fight against this. Let’s give it a little bit more time to develop even more tools and if we’re doing that, then I think that we’re going to have a great chance in this. So thank you all and remember the message is safer at home. And with that, yes ma’am.

Speaker 1: (22:39)
[inaudible 00:08:38]. Given the way that the numbers have been growing here, looking back, [inaudible 00:22:50].

Ron DeSantis: (22:52)
Well that’s what we’re doing now with this. I mean we have South Florida we view as our epicenter with 60%, but just understand we were working with Mayor Jimenez, we were working with Mayor Holness, we were working with those counties from day one and I have issued order specific for South Florida already. Now this is yet another one. And so we definitely view the Southeast Florida region as a unique part of the state, particularly when you talk about a virus that started internationally and then all of these obviously spread seriously in New York City. Both of those impact Southeast Florida. And so I think a lot of what the counties have done, a lot of times in conjunction with us, has been very aggressive. We’ve supported every step they’ve taken, and I think this is yet another example of that. Yes sir.

Speaker 2: (23:39)
Governor, we heard, can you give us an idea about how long it takes from ordered PTE to getting it in the hands of-

Ron DeSantis: (23:48)
It’s the million dollar question. I mean, so when we started this, we were one of the first states, Jared’s here, the merchant. We were one of the first states to order all this stuff. That’s why we have the field hospital set up. That’s why we have additional beds. That’s why we’re finally starting to get the testing swabs. We ordered a half a million of those right off the bat, and the PPE was something. So what’ll happen is there’ll be PPE that’s supposed to be delivered at some port, you go, and it ends up somewhere else. It’s really cut throat. The president talked about it yesterday.

Ron DeSantis: (24:20)
We’re going to look into this FDA approval for cleaning the PPE. Look, obviously we’d like to have unlimited supply, but if at least if you can do that, then they’re able to do it. So PPE is a top, top priority and I think we’re going to continue pushing for. We are getting some in, but then like they’ll say you’re going to get another 500,000 next week. And it’s like, “All right, here’s 25,000,” it’s cut throat. And that’s just the nature of it. But when you look at some of the things that we have an opportunity to do, if we get the rapid test, all the healthcare workers would be able to get a result in five minutes. That’s game changing for protecting the healthcare workforce. So there’s a whole bunch of other things that we want to do as well, but certainly the protection of the healthcare workforce is one of the top issues.

Speaker 2: (25:05)
[inaudible 00:25:05]? Like a week or so?

Ron DeSantis: (25:07)
What’s that?

Speaker 2: (25:08)
What’s it averaging out at? Like a week?

Ron DeSantis: (25:11)
I think it varies by region, to be honest with you. One of the things I did early on was we suspended any type of non-essential medical procedures. And part of the reason we wanted to do that was to make sure that we could expand the amount of beds in case you had a hospital surge. But as I started talking to folks, that was really the secondary reason to do it. The number one reason to do it, it’s because you didn’t want to burn through PPE. We just had a baby and I wasn’t in the delivery room because we didn’t want to burn the PPE. My wife and I both said, “Look, let that be for the medical professionals.” So that’s just… It’s something that we’re working very hard to conserve. Yes sir.

Speaker 3: (25:49)
[inaudible 00:25:49] we have our own elderly folks testing in that area also, so [inaudible 00:26:26], so we need people on the ground [inaudible 00:26:34].

Ron DeSantis: (26:36)
Yeah, no, absolutely. And we’re going to be able to beef up. So we have the testing site here, Marlin Stadium, and we’re going to be sending more swabs because as they come in, we get them out. And so clearly Miami’s a great. You look at some of the testing in Miami, there just wasn’t any testing being done here. Like I said, I think that this was circulating in February, but I think it was people would go and it was an influenza like illness and it just wasn’t clear. And then once you started…

Ron DeSantis: (27:07)
Because at first, the CDC said, “Just test people if they come back from China.” Well, there’s a lot more people that had been through South Florida. So once we’ve been able to flood the zone with tests, you’ve obviously seen more positives. But I think those are identifying things that were probably there. And so now that we’ve kind of sensed where we’re at, as we continue to get results, I think it allows you to make much better decisions. But if I could have unlimited PPE and rapid testing, if I have those two things, and we may get those very soon, that’s a huge game changer for us and allows us to be even stronger.

Speaker 4: (27:45)
[inaudible 00:27:47].

Ron DeSantis: (27:56)
Well, no, no. So first of all, I’m not supportive of that. Obviously the county, they’re in charge of the port. We’ve talked to the coast…

Ron DeSantis: (28:03)
Obviously, the county, they’re in charge of the port. We’ve talked to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard, I don’t think, wants them to come in. I’ve talked to the White House about it, and we don’t want it to come in. And here’s the issue. We met with … Mayor Holness was there, we met … And Mayor Gimenez, we met with all the cruise ship people several weeks ago and said, “Look guys,” and the Vice President was basically like, “I’m not saying we’re going to totally shut you down, but if you can’t operate safely.” And they said, “No.” They were going to take things. So here’s a situation where there’s nothing about Florida where the ship should necessarily … That’s just a convenient place. The problem is, is then that takes resources away from the folks and … Fatalities. So Miami’s numbers, as you’ve had the infections reported higher, their hospitalization rate, I would say is definitely below the national average for what you guys have.

Speaker 5: (28:50)
The hospitalization rate is about 6%.

Ron DeSantis: (28:52)
6% in Miami, between 6% and 7%. So those are the things that you’re looking at. And especially remember, flattening the curve is not saying that we can stop the virus at all. I mean, it’s kind of a recognition. A respiratory virus, it just has a way of getting out. So you take these measures so that you’re shifting some of these infections further into the future so the healthcare system doesn’t get overwhelmed. So that’s the type of thing, looking at the test results, but then seeing how that’s affected our hospital and our health care system. That’s really the two things that go hand in hand. Yes ma’am?

Speaker 6: (29:28)
Governor DeSantis, I have a question about [inaudible 00:01:28].

Ron DeSantis: (29:28)
Right.

Speaker 6: (29:28)
I wanted to know why the [inaudible 00:29:32].

Ron DeSantis: (29:37)
You have to ask my communications. I do not deal with the press conferences. I just go up and do my thing. And so I’m happy to answer. Obviously you’re here now and I think I’ve answered more questions than just about any governor since I’ve been governor, and I’m happy to do that. Yes sir?

Speaker 7: (29:54)
Governor, given the fact that the private market is pulled through, and the Defense Production Act is revived, [inaudible 00:29:54] testing in South Florida. We’ve only tested 0.02% of the population.

Ron DeSantis: (30:04)
Well, but I would say, I mean we’ve gone from even with the limitations on the type of testing you’re doing, you went from probably when CDC was doing it, if you go back and look there, there were not even 1,000 tests done. So then we’ve gotten involved and we’ve worked with the locals and we have had some federal support and then you now have tens of thousands … I mean, Broward’s at least 10,000 tests, Miami’s 10,000. So we’re going to keep doing that. If I get the rapid tests to come in, they’re going to be making 50,000 of those a day.

Ron DeSantis: (30:34)
So Florida, I asked the president personally, not that they have to pay for it for us, but all these manufacturers are looking to the White House about where they should send stuff. And my pitch on Florida was, look, I have a spot in southeast Florida. If I could rapidly deploy that, particularly amongst … With the senior community, we would be able to really have measures that would be in place that would be a pinpoint of what we need to do. And so I think that that would be something that would just be absolutely phenomenal. But as frustrating as the testing has been, in February the only people that were being tested per CDC was if you had been in China. So we were actually isolating people for 14 days if they had come back from China, then you added Italy. But if you were just someone here with symptoms, CDC says that you didn’t need to be tested.

Ron DeSantis: (31:24)
I don’t think they thought that the virus was really present in our country, and that may obviously have been incorrect. So had the testing been a little bit more robust, we may be in a situation where we would know the better baseline because I know that had Miami tested … And it’s not Miami’s fault, but had there been more tests, I think you would have obviously seen more positives in late February then you have right now. But we’re in much better shape having done … We’ve done over 50,000 tests in basically two and a half weeks in Florida. When you look, when we stood up the Guard, when we really started ramping this up, and we’re probably going to be doing, once we have the Palm Beach site up between Broward, we’re going to be doing thousands and thousands every single day.

Ron DeSantis: (32:07)
I would point out, we have set up sites around the state. Fortunately there are some parts around the state where a testing site gets very little traffic. There aren’t as many people that have symptoms. I think that’s a good sign. But as we see the need, we obviously are willing to shift resources. One more. Yes ma’am? Yes, yes?

Speaker 8: (32:24)
Can you tell us about the baby?

Ron DeSantis: (32:26)
I’ll let you go too. But they wanted to ask about the baby, so let me brag just a little bit. It’s surreal being in a hospital during this time. And as I said, I did not go into the delivery room because I didn’t want to burn PPE. It was a kind of sad thing. But my wife and I both felt that was the right thing to do because really there’s going to be people that need it more than us. And then to have a third, she was the smallest of the bunch, but when my daughter was first born, my older one, it was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. And then my son, he’s a cute kid, but I’ll tell you what, this one is really, really cute. And so we’re really … She’s sleeping very well. And this is a tip for parents. My son’s two. This wasn’t in existence when he was even born, this technology.

Ron DeSantis: (33:11)
There’s a thing called the SNOO bassinet and you put the baby in there and there’s sensors and microphones in the bassinet. And so if the baby starts to cry, it logs it, and then it tries to figure out how you do noise, movement. What do you do to soothe the baby? Then the information goes to my wife’s smartphone and you see it. So last night, we put Mamie in the bassinet and she started crying. And then the thing just started doing all this stuff. And guess what? She didn’t make a peep all night. So the SNOO, look, if one night’s any indication, it is definitely worth your money if you’re a young parent and you care about your sleep. One more. Yes ma’am?

Ron DeSantis: (34:01)
So, yes. So what’s happened is when that happens, so like in Jacksonville they did 65 and plus with symptoms and then first responders and healthcare workers. The traffic was so light that they basically said, “Look, if you have symptoms, come in.” And so that expanded the pool a little bit. So I think it’s the call of here. My view is, as much as we can expand without giving people a false hope. If we have the supplies, expand it. I think that’s a good thing. It’s interesting in the numbers statewide. You look at the infections, but you also look at them by age group and we actually are seeing more infections I think reported than we thought in the 20s to 30s and even 40s. Those folks, if they don’t have an underlying condition, tend to get out of this much better. And so I think that that’s something that is important to understand.

Ron DeSantis: (34:52)
We’re also trying to work with CDC, and I think they’re trying to set it up, but with the flu, now obviously everyone that has the flu doesn’t go in and get tested. You kind of just deal with it. But we have deaths. I mean, Florida, even though we have one of the lowest death rates, we’ve got about 3,000 deaths a year from the flu. So what they do is they do spot sentinel testing. So they see where the flu is popping up in different parts of the state. And so we’re going to do something similar for COVID-19. And the idea is you’re testing a representative sample of society. If you start to see some positives in, say, North Miami Beach or wherever, then you can do resources accordingly.

Ron DeSantis: (35:30)
So I think that sentinel testing, once that’s in place, and I think that’s going to be more of a federal deal since the flu is a federal deal, that allows us to really see if it starts cropping up. Because we’re obviously thinking about safer at home. We’re thinking about getting through stopping the spread. But I think everyone realizes you can’t do this indefinitely. You’re going to have to have society function again. And what does that look like? Well, having this type of information allows you to have a functioning society, and it may look a little different because this thing isn’t going to totally go away, but I think it will allow people to hopefully have some peace of mind, but also be a little bit more involved as they’re used to doing. So, thanks everybody.

Speaker 16: (42:00)
A lot of the residents are frustrated that hand sanitizers are not on the shelf [inaudible 00:46:22] have you been told by the government what’s happening?

Speaker 14: (46:28)
Apparently it’s, companies are now converting to creating, manufacturing hand sanitizers. We in the county have had a problem in getting hand sanitizers and so that’s going to be a problem. So what’s the next best solution? Warm water, soap, 20 seconds, sing Happy Birthday twice as you wash your hands in warm water and that’s as good as any hand sanitizer. Make sure you do a thorough job, and so more hand washing with good old plain soap and water. Warm water, 20 seconds, as good as hand sanitizer.

Speaker 16: (47:00)
Yeah, but if you push an elevator button …

Speaker 14: (47:03)
If you push an elevator button, once you push an elevator button, go wash your hands with soap and water. If you have hand sanitizer? Fantastic. That’s what I do whenever I touch a surface. I’ve just touched these surfaces. I will not put my hands up to my face. I will then find a hand sanitizer or soap and water and then I will wash my hands to make sure that’s disinfected.

Speaker 17: (47:24)
Mayor, [inaudible 00:47:24] question.

Speaker 14: (47:25)
Yes?

Speaker 17: (47:26)
[inaudible 00:47:26] would it be easier to contain community spread if this were consistent across the state?

Speaker 14: (47:34)
If what?

Speaker 17: (47:34)
If this were consistent across the state?

Speaker 14: (47:37)
Well, like the governor said that the problems in South Florida in Southeast Florida are completely different than the problems in the panhandle. I mean, they have no cases up there. I actually support the governor’s view. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution. This is where a good majority of these cases are. We have to take these measures because we are an international city, a lot of international travelers, a lot of people from New York come here to Southeast Florida and I know we have a big problem in New York and so we’re taking these measures because it’s necessary for us. We also have a big, large elderly population here in Southeast Florida and so I think the governor’s approach is being very strategic, being very surgical, we can support that. I do support the governor’s efforts and I’ve also got to thank the governor for everything he’s done for us here in South Florida.

Speaker 18: (48:29)
[inaudible 00:48:31].

Speaker 14: (48:34)
Jackson Memorial is our public health hospital. We have every morning, we talk about how many beds they have, how many ICU beds and how many respirators they have in Jackson Memorial. They have plenty of respirators now to to take over any peak. Again, even though we’ve had a good jump in the number of positives, it’s something that we thought was going to happen. We haven’t seen a big jump in the number of hospitalizations or in the number of people using respirators. I think we have 1400 cases that are positive. We have 100 hospitalizations, that’s about 6 to 7% is actually hospitalized. By the way, that’s a running total, that’s cumulative. That means that there may be some folks that have already been hospitalized that have left the hospital, that are still in that 100. Again, we look at how many hospital beds are available, how many ICU beds are available, how many respirators are available, and we haven’t seen a big jump in the decline in the vacancy rate, in the ICU use rate and also the respirator rate. Yes, we’ve had an increase, but nothing that’s alarming at this time.

Speaker 19: (49:46)
How’s their PPE?

Speaker 14: (49:47)
PPEs are a problem everywhere across the nation. We have a sufficient number here to last us maybe a month or so for our public safety, police and fire, but it’s a problem. It’s a challenge. People, like the governor said, the private sector is coming up with all different kinds of solution that they can implement right away. There’s a big market, obviously. When there’s a big market, somebody is going to come up with a solution. But it takes a while to get it into the marketplace, get it in the supply chain. We’re having difficulty just like everybody else.

Speaker 20: (50:22)
Okay, thank you.

Speaker 14: (50:23)
Okay? Thank you very much. God bless you all.

Speaker 14: (50:24)
(silence).