May 5, 2020
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis COVID-19 Briefing May 5
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a coronavirus press conference on May 5. DeSantis said Florida had record number of test results back in one day.
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Ron DeSantis: (00:00)
Thanks for coming here. Yesterday, the State of Florida reported the most number of test results, since we’ve started this. We got 23,884 test results. Out of that massive batch, it only yielded 589 new Florida cases. And so, if you look at the percent positive, which is something we track very closely, yesterday’s test results, have got to be the lowest percent positive, since we’ve been doing any type of major testing. But it was about 2.61%, of all the new tests that came in, were positive. So that puts us at a 97 plus percent negative rate. You look at other parts of the country. You have some places where they’re still 30, 40, some are even close to 50%, of all the tests, are coming back positive. So here in Florida, we’ve seen that trend go down. I don’t think we’ve been above low 6% in probably about two weeks.
Ron DeSantis: (01:05)
Then I think that, we’ve not reached seven in probably quite some time. So I think that that’s a good trend. But part of that is, because we have worked so hard to expand testing. So this is, here at the Sarasota University Town Center, is the 12th state supported drive-through testing site, that we have throughout the state of Florida. As we go into phase one, it’s important that people, they’re going to work, they have an opportunity to get testing. And I know there’s people have done a great job, hospitals, doctor’s offices. There have been a lot of great things done with testing, but we feel just having a baseline of state support in various regions of the state is very important. It’s interesting. I wonder whether, people will say as Florida launches into phase one, percentage positive tests plunged to record low.
Ron DeSantis: (01:52)
I don’t think they will write that headline, because it’s not going to generate the type of clicks, but the fact of the matter is, Florida has met all the gating criteria to be in the phase one obviously. We’re doing it very judiciously. Putting the Southeast Florida counties on a little bit different timetable. But certainly, I think on the West Coast of Florida, we have the ability to move into phase one, and then I think, hopefully continue down the line. So, this is important. We are earmarking, 400 tests a day through here. But if there’s more demand, we can do more. What we’ve noticed throughout the state is, these test sites tend to have more capacity than there is demand. So you have different places that have similar populations to Sarasota-Manatee, maybe like in Duval County. And they’re typically doing about 200 tests, a day to go through those.
Ron DeSantis: (02:43)
This can accommodate 400, but if we need to scale it up, that will happen very quickly. And I know Jared has supplies ready to go. So, so far, throughout the pandemic, just our drive-through sites, have done 109,000 tests. The ones that the state has supported. There have been other drive-through sites that, healthcare systems have set up, and of course they’ve done an awful lot as well. But this has been a real key component to us fighting the pandemic here in the state of Florida. Beyond the drive-through sites, we are continuing to pioneer walk-up testing locations. So this takes testing locations particularly into underserved communities and gives folks the opportunity to come get tested. Some folks, not everyone has a car, not everyone has the ability to get to some of these test sites. So just those 10 walkup sites. We’ve been doing these for probably about three weeks now. And we’ve done over 10,000 tests.
Ron DeSantis: (03:37)
Tomorrow, Director Mosckowitz and I are going to announce the first, I think the first of its kind, mobile testing lab. Where we’re going to have an RV, outfitted with a lab inside, and we’re going to be doing the 45 minute rapid test. So we’ll be able to take those to places such as longterm care facilities, test, and we are doing that now, but get results back immediately, or close to immediately, which is very exciting. So, we’re going to unveil that tomorrow. The company that provides the rapid test said, they’re not aware of anyone in the United States doing the mobile lab like they’re doing now. They actually do this because [inaudible 00:04:14] does the HIV test. So there’s places in Africa where they will go around and do it. They haven’t seen it yet. So the company’s excited as well. And we’re very excited to be able to announce that tomorrow.
Ron DeSantis: (04:26)
We have 50 teams of National Guardsmen, that have been going proactively into our longterm care facilities, to be able to try to identify clusters of infections, with particularly asymptomatic staff. The very beginning of this, we had very stringent restrictions. Didn’t allow visitors, into the longterm care facility, and had a lot of screening that had to be done, for each staff member. The problem is, you don’t always show symptoms when you’re infected. And so you can do the temperature check and all that. It’s important and it does help, but it’s not enough. And so we started to see cases in longterm care facilities, where no one knew the staff member was sick and you have it. It would spread like wildfire amongst the staff. So they’ve gone in proactively and test. They’ve identified some clusters and have isolated those, and prevented many more infections, which is very, very important.
Ron DeSantis: (05:21)
We also are, going to have more convenient testing with some of the private businesses. Walgreens is setting up nine drive-through sites throughout Florida. There’s going to be one in Hillsborough County, but they may end up doing more. CVS is going to do some, Walmart is going to open up drive-through sites, in partnership with Quest Diagnostics. And so, you think back to February, there were not even really tests available. The CDC was the only one that had them. And really, the criteria was, you had to have certain symptoms, you had to be a certain age, and you had to have some connection with travel to China.
Ron DeSantis: (05:55)
Well, that is, much different picture now. You want to come to this test site. Obviously, if you have Coronavirus symptoms, come. It doesn’t matter how old, two, if you’re a healthcare worker, first responder, regardless of symptoms, come get tested. And then even if you’re somebody that’s totally asymptomatic but believe that you may have been exposed to Coronavirus in one way or another, come. We want to definitely, I think if you look at the numbers in Sarasota-Manatee, there’s not been as many younger people that have tested than in some other parts of the state.
Ron DeSantis: (06:26)
So this gives an opportunity for folks, that either have symptoms, work in healthcare or, may just think that they were in contact with someone. So we think that that’s a good thing.
Ron DeSantis: (06:36)
We’re also going to be announcing this week, the deployment of, antibody tests, at our drive-through testing facilities. So the antibody test tests whether your body has developed antibodies, which means that you have had the disease in the past. And because so many of the cases, we’re starting to learn, we’ve actually probably figured this for many weeks, the vast majority of cases appear to be either asymptomatic, or the symptoms seem to be so minor, that you wouldn’t even necessarily think, to go get medical attention. You look at some of the antibody academic tests, research projects that have been done at Stanford, in Santa Clara County, Miami-Dade, University of Miami did one, LA County, New York, city and state have done them. What they’re finding is, the number of documented cases is one thing, the number of people with the antibodies is far, far in excess, of the number of people who’ve actually tested positive, with a diagnostic test.
Ron DeSantis: (07:37)
So that’s important to know. If you’re a healthcare worker and you have the antibodies, then obviously you have immunity. We don’t know how long that immunity is. Some people think six months, two years. I think eventually we’ll find out. But certainly, that’s important. If you work in a longterm care facility, and you have antibodies, that’s important to know. And then also just people. I’ve heard people say, “I had a really nasty illness in late February. I went in, tested for flu, was negative. I may have had this.” Well, you come in, if you have the antibodies, then you’ll know. Usually the antibodies take about two weeks, to develop. It’s not something that would happen overnight. So, certainly if you were infected anytime February, March, early April, we would expect the antibodies to show.
Ron DeSantis: (08:21)
So we have, already received 200,000 antibody tests for serological testing. We’ve done a survey of all the hospitals, that may need some. So we’re going to send them to any hospital that wants it. Clearly it’s important for the doctors and the nurses. So we’re going to do that. And then we’re going to have lanes, dedicated to antibody testing, at our drive-through sites. And so people will be able to come by and get through that. We’re also going to likely do our own State of Florida study, where we can try to determine the prevalence in different parts of the state. As you look at the numbers, we have, almost 40% of the cases are in one County, Miami- Dade County. And then if you look at Southeast Florida, they comprise-
Ron DeSantis: (09:03)
And then if you look at Southeast Florida, they comprise 60% of the cases and similar percentages for hospitalizations and fatalities, so the prevalence there maybe a little bit different than some other parts of the state, but it’s important for us to know. Antibody testing is finally here from the state. We’re going to get many more coming down the line. But this 200,000 I think will be a really good start.
Ron DeSantis: (09:24)
It’s also important to look and understand who is the most at risk from the coronavirus. In the state of Florida, those who are 85 and older represent 5% of the documented positive cases in the state of Florida, but 30% of the fatalities in the state of Florida. People that are between 75 and 84 represent 8% of the positive test results in the state of Florida, but 30% of the fatalities. You’re looking at 60% of the fatalities in the state of Florida are folks who are 75 and up. Most of those folks had one or more co-morbidity. And so we understand who the most vulnerable groups are of the coronavirus. We also understand the people, if you’re 50 and under with no conditions, you’re at low risk and that’s a good thing to know.
Ron DeSantis: (10:20)
But it does require us to continue to do all that we’ve done and really make it even stronger for supporting our longterm care facilities. We did a lot at the very beginning. CMS use Florida’s model as its guidance that it pushed out to the other states. Jared has been great.
Ron DeSantis: (10:40)
One of the things we knew was we needed the folks in the longterm care facilities to wear the PPE, mask and other things to prevent help cut down on infection, but we had to put our money where our mouth is. Jared, pretty soon, Department of Emergency Management, we will have sent out 10 million masks to just longterm care facilities. I think we’re… Jared has the exact numbers, but we’ve sent out 7, 8 million for sure and we have many more on the way. We’ve also done over a million gloves, half a million face shields. When I presented that at the White House and showed what we’ve done, FEMA has now responded by doing something similar where they’re sending PPE directly to the longterm care facility. Florida longterm care facilities are going to get what the state sent. They’re also going to get things that FEMA is sending. That’s going to be a pretty important stockpile to be able to have.
Ron DeSantis: (11:32)
But we also understood that you need it to have the expeditionary testing, so you have that with the National Guard. Our RV mobile testing lab will be focused on this most vulnerable group in our society and so we think that that’s going to be a major force multiplier.
Ron DeSantis: (11:49)
But we also… and Florida hospitals have worked very well with, with our AHCA agency secretary Mary Mayhew, as well as the Florida Department of Health on not sending COVID positive patients back into nursing homes that can’t accept them. Other states, that was their policy. That has not been a good standard of practice. And so what you’ve seen, places like the Cleveland Clinic, I was at Halifax and Daytona, they understand the risks that comes with that. What they’re doing, I think pretty common practice in Florida has been, if somebody comes in and they’re COVID positive, you don’t send them back to the nursing home until they’ve had two negative tests. But we also understand that there could be people that go in from nursing homes to seek medical attention who, not for COVID, but you don’t know whether they have it or maybe they develop it. Even if you’re not having COVID, we are now requiring a negative test to be discharged and sent back to the nursing home.
Ron DeSantis: (12:49)
As part of my order in the phase one where we turned on the elective procedures, we wanted hospitals, what they have to do is assure us that there’s going to be hospital space in the event of a COVID hospitalization spike, that they have adequate PPE. And then the third and most, I think, the important factor is, and most of this is just a continuation of current practice, but working with both the state and the localities on making sure that the longterm care facilities and nursing homes have adequate support.
Ron DeSantis: (13:20)
We are actually doing an actual emergency rule that it was issued yesterday. Any individual discharged to a longterm care facility does need a test, a negative test, regardless of symptoms, regardless of whether they even went in for COVID-19 and I think that will help, because you send an asymptomatic senior back, that can really spread inside one of those longterm care facilities.
Ron DeSantis: (13:45)
We’re also formalizing some of the transfer guidance that AHCA has been giving throughout the course of the pandemic. Basically, we are requiring longterm care facilities to transfer residents that test positive for COVID-19 if the facility is not properly equipped to isolate and care for the patients. We do have some facilities that have isolation, negative pressure rooms where you could care for a COVID patient. Many of them do not have that and so if they do not have that, you don’t have a way to keep this from spreading and so we need that them to be transferred to a safe environment and I think that that’s really, really helpful. County health departments will be help assisting the facilities with the implementation of the transfer directive.
Ron DeSantis: (14:33)
Again, a lot of folks… this is kind of how the practice has been going. We think it’s important to formalize it. We’re not trying to be punitive, we just want to make sure that we’re not doing anything that would exacerbate the problems that we already have. The reality though is that the many of these CDC infection control standards exceed typical expectations with these facilities, especially related to isolation. That’s just the reality and we want to make sure that we’re doing the best we can.
Ron DeSantis: (15:05)
We also, though, understand that we need to incentivize hospitals to want to continue doing this. If you look, you actually get… if you keep them in a longterm care facility, you can potentially get more money from the longterm care facility from Medicare. And we think that that’s problematic, so I wrote to Seema Verma requesting that CMS provide hospital’s reimbursement for patients with COVID- 19 that may not otherwise meet hospital admitting criteria. It’s flexibility that we’re looking for on the reimbursement. We’ll make it easier for hospitals to take transfers from nursing homes and assisted living facilities to keep patients that are COVID positive from having to return to a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Ron DeSantis: (15:48)
We think that’s where the administration is going on this, because I think they understand that this makes it safer for the other residents and right now the hospitals throughout this whole pandemic, we’ve had 40, 45% of all beds have been empty in the state of Florida. You’ll start to see that change because we have the elective surgeries turned on, so people are going to start going in. You will have inpatient surgeries. I think also people were really scared about going into the hospital for other ailments. We’ve tried to stress, focus on the facts. Don’t focus on fear. Hospitals are safe. If you have chest pain, stroke symptoms, do not just wait that out because that can really exacerbate your situation. And so we think people are doing that. I think you’re starting to see more people seeking medical care, but certainly we want to do that. I think that is going to be a great step forward if CMS is able to go in this direction and aligns the incentives with safety, and at the end of the day that’s what we’re looking for.
Ron DeSantis: (16:49)
We’re also trying to protect those suffering from mental health and substance abuse. Now these populations are not discussed as frequently as the elderly and individuals with underlying conditions, understandably so. Individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues do have increased stress, pressure and anxiety caused by this emergency, particularly with the mitigation measures. This is a topic that my wife, our First Lady has been very involved with and she’s following it closely, even as we have a five and a half a week old baby.
Ron DeSantis: (17:21)
To ensure that those individuals can get the help they need, I’ve asked Secretary Mayhew to lift all Medicaid behavioral health service limits. Florida Medicaid covers an expansive array of services for children and adults, but there are limits in place for most services for adults. Given the effect COVID-19 may have on mental health. Behavioral health services, such as in individual family therapy sessions or access to medications, should not be limited. I’ve also directed Secretary Mayhew to remove all prior authorizations for behavioral health service and Medicaid managed care plans that have up to seven days to render a decision if the service is not urgent and two calendar days to respond.
Ron DeSantis: (18:03)
… if the service is not urgent, and two calendar days to respond in urgent situations, but patients in need of mental health should not have to wait to know if they can be treated. So this will also reduce administrative burdens for providers that are having to adjust resources and business practices in response to COVID-19, i.e. increased use of telehealth for service delivery or teleworking administrative staff.
Ron DeSantis: (18:26)
Jared is going to come up and talk about Division of Emergency Management, but this has, from the time when the emergency started until the present, the state of Florida has sent for healthcare workers, first responders, long-term care facilities, more than 22.5 million masks, nearly 10 million gloves, 1.6 million face shields, a million shoe covers, 450,000 gowns, 200,000 containers of hand sanitizer, 85,000 goggles and 38,000 coveralls. So it’s been a massive logistics operation, really focusing on supporting those frontline healthcare workers.
Ron DeSantis: (19:04)
We also now have a machine down in Miami that can clean the PPE, clean the masks so that they can be reused. That’s helpful to have, especially, it seems like the supply chain is starting to work a little bit better than six weeks ago, but a lot of this stuff is still done in China. The antibody tests we had were sitting in China. We had a tough time getting them out of China.
Ron DeSantis: (19:28)
One of the things we need to do with this whole pandemic is understand all this stuff should be made in the United States, not made in China. We don’t want our health destiny to be resting in the hands of a communist dictatorship, so I think you’re going to start seeing that. Certainly in Florida, we would welcome any of the manufacturing, masks, any of the PPE, kits, whatever you’re doing, come to Florida. We got a good business environment, we would love to have you here. But being able to reuse the PPE is something that’s very, very important. We had a five-point plan from the very beginning on combating COVID-19, obviously protect the elderly and the vulnerable, social distancing, supporting the healthcare workers, expanding testing, and not having the disease be introduced from outside the state of Florida. So to that end, we put a quarantine order in pretty early on for people coming from the New York City area, and to date we have screened and quarantined 42,321 travelers. Most of that is New York, we did have some from Louisiana when New Orleans was really a hotspot. Fortunately, Louisiana seems to have really turned a corner and we’re happy for that.
Ron DeSantis: (20:46)
But there have been almost 3,500 flights between March 23rd and May 4th. Now, a lot of those have few passengers at this point, but still, that’s just been something that’s been a major challenge when you take that many people from the number one hotspot in the world, plant them into Florida, particularly Southern Florida. So I think that these orders really help reduce the spread and reduce the introduction of the disease into our communities.
Ron DeSantis: (21:20)
Tomorrow we’ll be doing the announcement on the mobile RV lab. We’ll also be doing the announcement this week on the antibody testing. We’re also going to be, and I’ve been talking with Director Moskowitz, we’re preparing for hurricane season. We understand that if this… We don’t know how the virus is going to react as we move into these various stages. We don’t know what it’s going to look like a month from now, three months from now, but we have to assume that it’s going to be with us in some capacity. So how do you deal with hurricane issues? Jared’s been working with FEMA on it. We’ve got great ideas, and so that’s all going to have to go into effect. How do you do sheltering? How do you do some of these things which are challenging under normal circumstances, but a added challenge when you’re talking about having the introduction of this virus.
Ron DeSantis: (22:12)
The one thing that I think we’ve learned, is this virus really thrives and transmit when you have close, sustained contact with people inside an enclosed environment. So you look, prisons, there’s a lot in the prison, obviously if it gets into a long-term care facility, you look at some of the other public transportation. But the number one venue for transmission, certainly in Florida and I think probably everywhere, has been inside the home amongst family members, because you’re in an enclosed environment, you have close, repeated contact with people and that’s really what the virus likes in terms of it being transmitted.
Ron DeSantis: (22:50)
So as you’re looking at sheltering for hurricane, you got to keep that in mind. I mean, if you pile people into a place, under normal circumstances that may be fine, but that would potentially allow the virus to really spread if somebody is in fact infected. So those are very important things. When Jared and I were talking, we’ve had a number of storms over the last few years, we’re due for a break, but we’re assuming that we’re going to have more storms and I think you got to be prepared. I’m going to let Jared come up and say a few things about Division of Emergency Management, then I’ll be happy to take some questions.
Governor, thank you. I want to thank the National Guard that’s here today. They’ve been a real partner in helping us get these sites up and running on time and really getting them working without many kinks. A lot of other states have had problems with the drive-throughs, and the National Guard here deserves a lot of credit for working through those things so that these things can happen seamlessly.
I want to thank our local partners, obviously the folks in Sarasota County, Manatee County, their emergency management departments, their fire, EMS, police departments and just county staff on getting this up and running. This really is a joint site between those two counties and so I really appreciate their efforts. And I want to thank the elected officials behind me obviously, for letting us know where the need is, helping us make sure that their community is getting served.
This is our newest site. We have other sites that are coming online. The governor will be announcing later this week, a site in Miami Beach, which we should be opening this week and then two more, one in Brevard County, one in Volusia County. And as we see that there is a need for this sort of model, we’ll continue to open these sites. HHS is supposed to be pushing us collection swabs, collection kits over the next couple of weeks. I plan on using those in addition to the ones we’ve ordered with vendors to increase testing as much as possible, and the governor’s talked about that obviously in his phased approach.
We’re also continuing to talk to labs to increase our lab capacity right now. As the governor’s addressed, our capacity to process labs exceeds the demand, based on how many collection kits we’re sending, based on how many collections we can gather in a day. And so we’ll continue to make sure that we’re plussing up our labs so that we don’t get into an issue as we get more collections, because it’s really a two-step process. And so we’re signing another deal with another lab today in South Florida, so that will continue that march.
The governor talked about obviously getting to 30,000, 40,000 labs a day. We’re already over 30,000 in that capacity, so we’re looking forward to getting to that 40,000 number. When we opened these sites, we opened them up really at a 400 per person capacity, just again to work out the kinks, make sure everything works. After today, this site will go to 750 a day just like our other sites. The one in Lee County is also going to go to 750 a day. We’re not seeing, even in South Florida, any site doing 750, they’re doing around 500, 600 a day. It goes up and down. But I just wanted to make sure that if people come and get in line and want to test, that they can get a test.
So the governor obviously addressed that we’re going to get the antibody tests out, not just to hospitals but to these drive-throughs. And so we look forward to accomplishing that this week as well, as well as the mobile lab. And the whole point of the mobile lab really, is to get results faster for our long-term care facilities. So these people are going to get swabbed, they’re going to get results the same day, and then that thing is going to move from place to place to place. That’s the whole point of being mobile.
So don’t be surprised if for a couple of days it’s in South Florida, or a couple of days it’s here in Sarasota, Manatee, Tampa, then it goes up to the panhandle, it goes over to Duval. I mean we are going to move that thing around to continue to try to get different samples from long-term care facilities and get results as fast as possible. And we’ll obviously follow where we might have cases that are popping up. We’ll also go to asymptomatic places because we want to see what’s happening in those communities.
We have walkup sites that are still opening. One more will open up in Riviera Beach in Palm Beach this week, and we’ll look forward to opening up more of those in underserved communities. We found some real good partners, FAMU in Leon County, the Urban League…
We found some real good partners, Fam U in Leon County, The Urban League in Broward County. So I want to thank all of them because they’ve really been fantastic to work with. The governor talked about our PPE efforts. I won’t re-go over the numbers. We’re at eight million masks right now for longterm care facilities. Another half a million went out yesterday. We’ll be at 10 million by the end of the week specifically just to longterm care facilities. Plus the federal government is sending them two weeks worth of PPE. So there should be no issues with PPE in our longterm care facilities. If there is a longterm care facility that is still struggling, please contact the division of emergency management. I personally will make sure that your needs are met. Hurricane season, as we get into hurricane season, one of the most important things that we do, one of the lessons learned from this is to make sure that we have adequate supplies. And so in addition to making sure that we can serve the needs of today, we’re making sure obviously that we’re creating a stockpile for hurricane season.
And so we are buying up PPE and putting it in reserve in our warehouse to make sure that we have 10 million masks on hand as we get into hurricane season. The governor announced just the other day that we signed a longterm deal with Honeywell in which we’re going to get N95 masks right from the manufacturer. We’re going to get 12 million of those over the next year. That’s a longterm deal. And so we’re making sure that we will have the resources that we need as we get into hurricane season. FEMA has been a real partner figuring out obviously how we’re going to factor in COVID-19 into hurricane season. We’re going to do more non congregate sheltering instead of mass congregate sheltering if we have to do mass congregate sheltering. What are the protocols that we’re going to put in place? Are we going to have COVID only shelters?
How are we going to do evacuations? How are we going to limit evacuations? So maybe you have stayed home orders for people who live in facilities who are built to a certain hurricane code based on the hurricane that is approaching. And so all of these options are on the table. We’ve been talking to all sorts of experts in the field, getting all sorts of different pieces of advice. I talk to Craig Fewgate every couple of days. I talked to former administrator, Brock Long. We’re talking to all sorts of different people because obviously Florida is going to be the tip of the spear on making sure that states are prepared to deal with COVID-19 and hurricane season. And governor DeSantis has been leading on that effort, making sure that we’re going to be ready for whatever happens this hurricane season, whether we see something early in June or July or whether we might see something typically in the August, September timeframe. With that governor, thank you.
Ron DeSantis: (29:34)
Well thanks Jared. You’ve done a really good job. It’s very difficult. This logistics is difficult under any circumstances, but the amount of crunch that was happening with this worldwide, we now know China was hoarding a lot of supplies for itself, it was challenging. But Jared has done a great job, so thank you. And with that, you’re up… Does your market cover here?
Speaker 2: (29:54)
We are today. [inaudible 00:30:02].
Ron DeSantis: (30:10)
So we went through the numbers and what you saw is, I mean this has required a lot of engineering on the backend. I mentioned yesterday we’re in a situation where this thing was just totally shot. So we looked at can you just get a new one? And the bottom line is that would have taken a year. It was not viable. Can you figure out a way to just go around the system by hand? But you have to do all these checks to comply with law, so you just couldn’t do it. So we’ve engineered it. There’s been I think 777,000 of the claims have been processed. If you look particularly in the last couple of weeks, you’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of thousands of payments that have gone out. So the last week or two has finally gotten us in a good spot.
Ron DeSantis: (30:54)
Not there yet. There’s going to be more done on the system over the weekend. But what they’re doing on the weekends, because you’ve seen some major spikes in payments on these Mondays and that’s great, they actually take the interface down. You can still apply on Pega or send in a written application. But it allows them to make changes because the system has really got flawed architecture. And by the way, we’re doing an IG investigation into this thing was contracted in 2011, it’s multiple amendments to this thing, it ended up being $77 million. The engineers I talked to said, look, for that type of money, this thing just didn’t fit the bill. So we’re going to research that, figure out, investigate, figure out what the problems were. But in the weekend, they do work, but then they’re processing all day and all night. And so that I think has helped get the numbers up.
Ron DeSantis: (31:46)
So we’re continuing to work hard. It’s obviously not done, but compared to where it was three or four weeks ago when literally you could pay 1500 people at a time a day. That’s not going to cut it when you have this many people. We also, I mentioned yesterday in the brief, part of the bottleneck was not the Florida system either. It was you submit, our system would take it, but then it’s got to ping federal databases which were taking forever to be able to give us answers. And that’s required by the law to make sure you have a social security number, some of these things.
Ron DeSantis: (32:21)
So we were able to work with highway safety, who’s got a lot of this information, and they’ve been able to validate it so much quicker. So a lot of those payments that came out over the last two weeks would have been probably most of those still bottlenecked with the federal verification. And so that was really good for DEO to work with them to be able to get that. So it’s ongoing. It’s been a top priority. But we’ve put so much resources into it because we know how important it is to people.
Speaker 3: (32:49)
Governor, senior citizens [inaudible 00:32:49] so desperate for help [inaudible 00:00:33:00].
Ron DeSantis: (32:59)
Well, we’ll get the information. I’ll have someone get it and we’re happy to help. Our DEO, what they do is when they have, when they see things, someone maybe in a news article or even on social media, they are actively researching and figuring out, okay, what’s this? Is this person caught up, is there a problem or whatnot. And they’ve been doing that pretty proactively. What they have found is that most of those folks have not completed the application, either didn’t have a social security number or not eligible because they didn’t have a job recently. But those are things that if you get in touch with D-