May 14, 2020

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis May 14 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript

Ron DeSantis Press Conference Transcript May 14
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis May 14 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a coronavirus press conference on Thursday, May 14. DeSantis gave the go-ahead for Miami-Dade and Broward counties to reopen businesses on Monday. Read the full news briefing speech transcript.

 

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Governor Ron DeSantis: (00:00)
… the opening. And we did this because we understood that these mitigation efforts were done and undertaken to flatten the curve and to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed. And if you remember in mid March, there were news reports projecting up to 464,000 Floridians could end up hospitalized due to the Coronavirus. We only have 70,000 hospital beds. So, that was a terrifying prospect that would have left hundreds of thousands of people without medical care.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (00:33)
Fortunately, that parade of horribles has not come to pass, and April 24th, which is the date projected, we had about 2000 people hospitalized in the state of Florida. Again, we don’t like to see anyone there, but clearly those doomsday predictions were not realized. Our hospitals actually had more capacity six weeks into the pandemic than they did before the pandemic began. So, we understood that we have a responsibility to move forward in a safe, smart, and step by step approach. This would be an approach that would be rooted in facts, not in fear. It would be based on our observed experience, not based on hysteria. And it would acquire a sober analysis of data, not panic inducing clickbait headlines.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (01:25)
Now, this announcement as many people here in South Florida understand apply to 64 of the 67 counties. All our counties in Florida, except for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. And the reason we did that was because from the very beginning of this we have consulted and worked collaboratively with the counties, all three of them, every step of the way. It was their view, and my view that although the trends had improved since late March and early April, that they needed a little bit more time to prepare. And so, I was happy to work with them on that, and I said, “Prepare, develop a plan. When you guys are ready come to me and let’s move forward together.” And then that’s what we’re prepared to do today. But the 64 counties represent 16 million Floridians and those counties have been doing very well.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (02:25)
Also, we are monitoring the data on a daily basis, but since we went to phase one of the reopening the percentage of positive tests throughout the state has ranged between 1.84% and 5.27% for new cases averaging about 3.5% for all new test takers. For the phase one counties, the average was about 2.5% positive. And so, that was a really good sign to see that continue as we’ve moved into phase one. Total COVID positive individuals throughout the state of Florida in the ICU since we undertook phase one has decreased by 21% since the night of May 3rd. There were 600 individuals in the ICU at that time. As of last night, there were 472.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (03:23)
Also, total COVID positive individuals on ventilators has decreased statewide in the last two weeks by roughly 32%. At that time, there were 340 people on ventilators prior to us starting phase one, there are now 232 as of last night. We’ve seen dramatic indicators in terms of hospital admissions based on symptoms like coughing remain low, influenza like activity remain very low. And so, those 64 counties, the original phase one counties have continued to do well, and we want to continue working with them to move them forward.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (04:05)
Today, we take another important step for a very important part of the state of Florida. Some of our absolute best economic engines are in communities throughout South Florida. And so, we have been consulting with Mayor Gimenez here in Miami-Dade, Mayor Dale Holness in Broward, the administrators in both counties, and other local officials to plot a way forward. And so, today I’ll be signing or I have signed an executive order that grants the requests from both Miami-Dade and Broward to move them in to phase one of the reopening for the state of Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (04:47)
Now, we did, when I announced phase one, we followed the White House guidelines, but we didn’t even do everything that they said you could do in phase one. So, it was a limited phase one. It was a safe step. It was a smart step, but it was done step by step because we think that’s the best way to build confidence. And so, Miami and Broward will be in a similar vein with that. And part of the reason why I think that this makes sense is because they’ve progressed nicely in terms of dealing with the epidemic. If you look at the case numbers and the percentage of new individuals testing positive in Miami-Dade, it’s far below in the last 10 days what it was in the beginning of April where they were having over 500 cases a day.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (05:36)
If you look actually the cases yesterday was the only time it’s been above 250, I think since May 4th, but that was because we’ve had the outbreak at Homestead Correctional Institute. So, you’ve had over a hundred cases from a prison, which is obviously an issue, but it’s not really reflective of cases in the community. And likewise Miami’s percent positive test results have gone down significantly. In fact, they’ve been under 10% every day in the last two weeks except for yesterday, which was of course driven by the prison outbreak. ICU two weeks ago in Miami on 4/29, Miami-Dade had 197 COVID patients in the ICU. As of last night, it was 126. That’s a 36% decrease in COVID positive ICU patients. Ventilators, 120 patients on ventilators on April 29th, last night, 68 patients COVID positive on ventilators. That’s a 43% decrease.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (06:41)
So, the trends have been positive. The work has been effective. And so, moving Miami-Dade to phase one complies with the criteria that were set out by the White House, but also is the sensible thing to do given the progress that’s been made. I think the story is similar in Broward County. Influenza, and COVID like illnesses have both been on a downward trajectory really since March. The percent positive of new cases has steadily declined. It was 7.7% on April 29th for new cases. On May 12th, it was 4.4%. There was a time when Broward was testing, 15, 16% were coming back positive. They’re now even all the tests from the whole time are now under 10%. So, that’s a really good trend. The ICU two weeks ago to today, 44% decrease in ICU patients in Broward County. Ventilator patients two weeks ago versus today, a 56% decrease in Broward County.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (07:45)
I think the data and the facts are very clear that Southeast Florida, even though they had to face the most significant epidemic in the state of Florida, they flattened the curve. Their hospitals were never overwhelmed. In fact, they had a lot of space throughout most of this period, and they are ready to move to phase one. Now, Dade and Broward, both submitted plans that I’ve approved. They’re not going to have identical approaches in every respect. And I think that, that makes sense because even though we can look at Southeast Florida from the vantage point of other parts of Florida as being kind of a unique region, everyone who’s down here knows there’s a big difference between Broward and Miami-Dade. They’re very diverse places. And so, they’re not going to have the exact same approach on everything, but they are collaborating and coordinating on key issues that will affect both counties and will affect the Southeast region.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (08:43)
I think that that is the appropriate approach, and from the very beginning, we’ve worked collaboratively with both counties. I remember when all this started I was talking with Mayor Gimenez about how we needed to protect senior citizens. So we did things in Florida like ban hospitals from sending COVID positive patients back to nursing homes, which other states required, and that led to massive outbreaks and unfortunately, thousands of deaths. How important it was. And so, he acted very quickly because these senior centers are very popular in Miami-Dade, and he acted to protect that. And I think that that has saved a lot of lives through his actions.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (09:26)
I also worked with Mayor Holness when we were analyzing this in January and February, kind of the federal health experts who were telling us that, “Well, we don’t think it has a presence in the US. It’s coming from China.” I think we now know that it went from China to a bunch of places around the world and ended up coming to America. But as we were testing folks, you’d see people come in tests from foreign country, whatever. We had a lot of negative tests. We started to get some from international travel, but then it was really Broward where we started to see cases popping up around the cruise liners. We work with the mayor, what do you guys need? We set up this big national guard test center, which has been probably the most successful test center in Florida, maybe have in the country because I have national guard leaders come to watch how that is done. And that was a partnership with local government and the Memorial Healthcare in the state of Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (10:19)
So we’ve been having to work and these counties have faced a lot of challenges. When you have one of the biggest events in the world the second week of February, The Super Bowl, the opportunity for that to start spreading through the community. When you have all these cruise ships coming in, all these flights from New York going to Fort Lauderdale. These were really big challenges, and I think that the approach was very determined. I think we also understood that the challenges that the Southeast Florida County space were just qualitatively different than some of the challenges in other parts of Florida. And so, it really was a bottom-up approach. It was tailored to the local circumstances, and I think that because of the determination we’re now here able to take this first small, but very important step for this region.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (11:12)
The final thing I’ll say before I introduce my friend, Mayor Gimenez is what we’re seeing in the data if you look throughout the state of Florida, in particular, outside of Southeast Florida. As we see new cases pop up in amounts that are anything more than a trickle, we can tend to pinpoint it almost every time at this point. Sometimes it represents a prison outbreak. And so, if you see 50 cases in a rural county in North Florida, probably a prison because they have a lot of prisons up there. Sometimes it’ll be a data dump or a hospital have a lot of backlog tests and then put them out in one county, and then you can figure that out.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (11:52)
Sometimes when we introduce new test sites, you’ll see a short term blip, and then it really kind of crashes down after that. But probably the most significant source in terms of clinical consequences of new cases are cases that occur in longterm care facilities. And so, we have done a lot in the state of Florida, both in terms of on the front end. And then now with testing to be able to go on offense to protect longterm care facilities. But this requires a whole of Florida approach.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (12:24)
We need the local communities to be engaged, the county governments, county health departments, hospital systems because if you can prevent outbreaks in these nursing homes, you are going to dramatically lower the death rate here in the state of Florida and elsewhere. And so, I think the tip of the sphere going forward is going to continue to be these longterm care facilities. If it gets in one facility and starts to spread unnoticed, it can do a lot of damage. We’re working on a bunch of other solutions in terms of how to properly isolate some of these patients. A lot of them are going to the hospital now, even though they really just need individual convalescence. So we’re working on a-

Governor Ron DeSantis: (13:03)
… well now, even though they really just need individual convalescence, so we’re working on a lot of different things, but I would just implore communities throughout Florida, understand what facilities you have in your jurisdiction, understand what some needs may be. We in the state of Florida have sent out 10 million masks just to longterm care facilities, half a million face shields, gloves, all this stuff. We have a mobile lab going around all the longterm care doing rapid tests. We have [inaudible 00:13:29] National Guard units testing. We’ve put our money where our mouth is. We need to make sure all the workers at longterm care facilities are on a periodic basis availing themselves of the testing resources that are available in the state of Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (13:46)
If you’re working at a longterm care facility in Miami-Dade, you should be going on a regular basis to the Marlins test site or our Hard Rock test site, or some of the other test sites that are available. Obviously, you can go to your medical provider, because if we can keep it out of those facilities we’re going to be able to save a lot of lives. I think that as we open up the economy and take safe, smart approach to doing that, that’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time, but we can’t take our eye off the ball. The virus is still here. It doesn’t seem to be generating as many cases in Southeast Florida as it was doing six weeks ago, but in those enclosed environments still represents a significant threat.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (14:31)
I’ve talked to both mayors about it. They’re very much engaged, they understand, and I think we just have to have all communities in Florida having all hands on deck approach to this, and so, with that, I’m going to allow our Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to say a few things about his approach, and then, we’ll have the mayor of Broward County, Dale Holeness say some things about the approach of Broward County.

Carlos Giménez: (14:55)
Thank you, governor, and again, thank you for your leadership. It’s been a pleasure working with you. It really has, and your leadership here in the state of Florida, the results speak for themselves, and thank you so much. I want to thank Broward County Mayor Dale Holeness for collaborating with us, and also, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry, thank you for being here, and we’ve really had a very good working relationship between the two counties during this entire pandemic. With us today also are Commissioner Steve Bovo and Commissioner Pepe Diaz from Miami-Dade County, and Mayor JC Bermudez from the city of Doral. I want to thank them.

Carlos Giménez: (15:34)
We’re here to discuss phase one for the reopening of nonessential businesses in our county. Yesterday, I sent the governor our final draft of Miami-Dade’s 182 page New Normal guidebook. It offers detailed steps in how we will be moving to a new normal in our local economy. The governor and his administration have done an outstanding job in reviewing this guidebook, and really in record time. Thank you governor, and thank you for your fast tracking that effort, and making sure everything aligns with the high standards that you have set for our state. I also be remiss in not recognizing our Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez. Again, it’s been a pleasure working with you. Thank you so much.

Carlos Giménez: (16:13)
On Monday, May 18th, certain specific nonessential businesses that were closed by executive order due to the COVID-19 will begin to reopen here in Miami-Dade. The discipline of our residents, and I really have to express my gratitude to the people of Miami-Dade County and their discipline. It’s really because of you we’re able to take the step, and the expertise of our local and state health leaders have helped us flatten the curve on the Coronavirus in our county. We’re now ready to start reviving our economy. Our New Normal guide sets very specific safety rules and capacity limits for a wide range of businesses that will be allowed to reopen. This guide was developed in close consultation with medical and industries experts, and government partners, including Governor DeSantis, the Florida Department of Health, doctors, and epidemiologists at Jackson Health System, IU health, and the medical schools at FIU and University of Miami.

Carlos Giménez: (17:06)
We have also worked diligently with the Miami-Dade County League of Cities. We’ve been holding virtual meetings three times a week for the past two months to iron out strategies, and communications that there’s consistency in our efforts even when some municipalities have had to put more stringent rules in place due to their enforcement capabilities, or maybe some budget restraints. I want to thank Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudas for participating in all these meetings with the League of Cities. Miami-Dade County’s New Normal guide includes a clear color coded system for letting everyone know the level of caution they need to take when going about their daily activities.

Carlos Giménez: (17:41)
The system looks a lot like the travel advisories that we have all come to trust and rely on since 911 with a couple of added layers of security precautions. At the height of our COVID shutdown, we were in the red zone with only the most essential businesses allowed to remain open. On April 29th we used up a bit letting people return to the healthy open spaces of our parks, and marinas, and golf courses. This new orange phase of our recovery helped everyone get fresh air, exercise and sunshine while maintaining strict social distancing, and wearing masks when needed. On Monday, we will be ready to advance to the yellow stage of our New Normal. This will include the limited openings of nonessential businesses and facilities such as restaurants, warehouses, manufacturing, office buildings, and a specific list of small businesses.

Carlos Giménez: (18:28)
I want to make it abundantly clear that we’re not talking about opening all businesses yet. On Monday, we will not be opening spas, bars, gyms, and unfortunately back there are beaches. We will not be opening movie theaters, bowling alleys, pools, tattoo shops, or massage parlors. On Monday, however, we will be opening up many other businesses. We made the draft of our guide available yesterday, because each business, and its customers will need to fully understand the rules for our new normal. You can find all of the details online at miamidade.gov/newnormal. We will have a dashboard there that makes it easier to sort through all the information. For the general public the New Normal rules at nonessential businesses look very similar to what we’ve been doing when you go out for the past two months to pick up your groceries or medicines at a pharmacy.

Carlos Giménez: (19:21)
At these and other businesses we will be reopening, you will still need to practice social distancing of at least six feet, wear face covering’s on your mouth and nose when indoors, wash your hands frequently. You must take personal responsibility and follow the rules. Everyone must assume that they are asymptomatic carriers of the virus, and could be passing it on to other people without even knowing about it. Also, please remember at the time don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. As for business, the protocols are now more extensively outlined in each type of industry. The new rules continue to include clearly marking the spacing required between customers, frequently cleaning all high touched surfaces, providing hand sanitizers, and a whole list of other requirements specific to each type of business.

Carlos Giménez: (20:10)
Owners and employees need to carefully review the rules for their particular business at miamidade.gov/newnormal. We look forward to bringing our businesses back to life, and getting our residents working again, and as we do this, our discipline and self restraint will be the keys to our success. Miami-Dade County will follow the science of our health experts every step along the way, and every step along the way toward economic recovery. We will continue to expand testing. We will institute contact tracing through to avoid the development of any new COVID hotspots, and we’ll shut down any businesses that don’t comply with the new rules and our new normal. If we see an increase in COVID patients in our hospitals, or any other arising key indicators, we are tracking daily, we will move out of yellow, and back into an orange or a red zone, depending on the situation.

Carlos Giménez: (21:09)
It’s going to take the full teamwork of everyone in our county to make sure that this new normal works. Remember, I keep you safe, you keep me safe. It’s not just a motto for others to live by. It’s something that we must all practice daily to ensure the health and security of everyone in our community. One final reminder, when you aren’t going to work or heading out to a specific purpose at the businesses that will be opening up on Monday, it is still always better and always safer that you’re safer at home, and now also, I want to talk a little bit about what the governor said about where our battle now lies it. It does lie in those longterm care centers, and governor, we’re committed to taking this battle on, and protecting those that are most at risk in our county and our community.

Carlos Giménez: (22:01)
Now, Mayor Holeness will now speak, and then Mayor Bermudez will speak, and then, after that, I’ll come back with some comments in Spanish, and so Mayor Holeness from Broward County.

Dale Holness: (22:10)
Thank you very much Mayor Gimenez. Let me start by saying thank you to the governor, Governor DeSantis, thank you, and your team for being accessible, responsive, and supportive of what we do in Broward County. We’re truly grateful. We are benefiting from that effort, the collaborative effort that we’ve had, and also to you Mayor Gimenez. The conversation that we have on a regular basis, especially with you and our county administrator to get us where we are, and we are a region. The South Florida region is one community. We are in this together, and we must work in a collaborative manner as we go forward to beat this COVID-19 virus. I want to also thank our county administrator Bertha Henry, who’s worked tirelessly, hardly ever get much sleep. To you and your team I thank you for the work that is being done to get us here, and our mayors, the mayors of Broward County have been quite supportive.

Dale Holness: (23:14)
At the onset of this we were somewhat not together, but I can tell you over time we realized the importance of the entire community working together to ensure that we’re beating this COVID-19 virus. We’ve been on calls on a regular basis, and their consensus is that we do open on Monday the 18th, so that we can act uniformly across Broward County. Mayor Gimenez has covered a lot of the things that is in our plan also. It tracks pretty similarly, but not exactly. For example, we’re going to allow homeowners association and apartment complexes to have their gyms open, but in a limited way, with, again, the caution that we have utilized over time to get us to where we are.

Dale Holness: (24:03)
On the issue of beaches, the consensus from our mayors and our call yesterday was that we wait until at least the 26th, before we do any opening of the beaches, and in our conversation with Mayor Gimenez, we agree that it’s best that we do it together as a region. If we open one section of the beach, or one city, and the others are not open, they will have a crowd and get back to where we were, not where we want to be. Our conversation will continue, that we work together across boundaries and really people don’t see one anyway. Most people don’t know that there’s a difference between Miami and Broward County, because there’s no line that you cross over, there’s no checkpoints. If someone gets ill in Miami, it will come to Broward with this COVID-19, it doesn’t know any boundaries.

Dale Holness: (25:03)
We must continue to work together in order to ensure that we continue this downward spiral that we have seen. At one point, we were up to 242 tests positive in a day in Broward County. We’re able to get down to as low as 21 in the last couple of days. We are definitely on the right track, on the right pathway to get to where we need to go, so we can get back to where we can work together to bring prosperity to all the people of South Florida. It’s going to be a long, hard haul for us to revive the economy to where we were before with a 2.6% unemployment rate in Broward County, but again, we’re going to have to do this together across any lines that there might be, whether it be the county of Miami-Dade or Palm Beach. We are one region, and we’ll benefit from working together as one community. I think Mayor Bermudez would like to say a couple of words on behalf of…

Dale Holness: (26:03)
Mayor Bermudez would like to say a couple of words on behalf of the collaborative effort amongst our cities.

Mayor Bermudez: (26:07)
Thank you very much, Mayor. First of all, let me welcome everybody here to downtown Doral. Thank you to the Codina family, the Codina group for the opportunity to be here today and give us this opportunity. I want to welcome you, Governor, back to the city of Doral, and Lieutenant Governor who has been here before on many occasions. We welcome you to our community. I want to thank the County Commissioners that are here, including our own County Commissioner, Pepe Diaz [inaudible 00:00:31]. Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez, State Senator Manny Diaz, who both represent our area. And I want to thank Mayor Carlos Gimenez because, as was mentioned before, he has kept our municipalities, through Miami-Dade County League of Cities, involved from sometimes too many Zoom meetings, I think. And the most important thing I want to stress is these meetings always included individuals who are experts in the medical field.

Mayor Bermudez: (26:55)
Here in Doral, we’re very lucky to have today the largest downtown in the West side of Miami-Dade County. But more importantly, we have over 12,000 businesses. We are the headquarters for Miami-Dade County police, Miami-Dade County Fire, Miami-Dade County elections, and the United States Southern Command. So for us, it’s very important to make sure that as we go through the new normal, we actually do it the right way. And what we’re very excited about and positive about, and believe you, me, I know some of you are business owners, I see you here. I receive your calls. I’m sure Mayor Gimenez has also received them. We understand that we need to go forward to the new normal, but we’re going to do it the right way and the safe way. And that’s very important.

Mayor Bermudez: (27:37)
In Doral, we’ve had only one new case in the last nine days, which is similar to the trends we’ve seen across the county. And most importantly of all, beyond the trend going down, we also understand that now is the time to move forward in the right direction with a new normal. But I stress again to my business owners, to our residents, and I want to reiterate what Mayor Gimenez said, this would not be possible if our residents and our business owners did not do what we asked them to do. But I would like to stress once again that we need to do it in a safe way. And we as municipalities, the county and the state, are committed to that. So thank you. And we’re not going to be in the normal yet, but we are going into the new normal. Mayor?

Carlos Giménez: (28:24)
Thank you. Thank you very much, Mayor Bermudez. [Spanish 00:02:33].

Governor Ron DeSantis: (28:31)
All right. Let Jeanette go.

Jeanette: (32:44)
Good afternoon. Thank you all for being here. I want to thank the Governor for his steady hand during this crisis. I want to thank the Mayors who have also been tremendous partners, all the elected officials that have joined us here today. We appreciate Floridians, the sacrifices that they’ve had to make. We understand that as we now go into, for the two counties, Miami-Dade and Broward, into phase one, that they also are going to have to take individual precautions. But we thank these Mayors because this has been a tremendous trial that we’ve had to see.

Jeanette: (33:15)
I’ve often said we’ve been dealing with two crises, one of public health and one of the economy. And so we know businesses are struggling. We see here in downtown Doral all the wonderful businesses that have sustained this economy in Miami-Dade and for Florida. And so we’re eager to see people to get back to work, and we’re eager to see people to resume their daily lives. But as the Governor has often said, we have to do it smartly, we have to do it safely, and we have to do it step by step. And together we know that we will be able to overcome this coronavirus and we will be able to get back to the prosperity that Governor DeSantis was headlining under his leadership. Thank you all so much.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (33:54)
I want to thank everybody. I know some people have been asking about the test sites we’ve been running. Those continue. So Hard Rock, you have Marlin Stadium. We have the hybrid drive thru, walk up in Miami Beach at the convention center. That’s going to continue. Our Broward sites are going to continue, the walk up and drive thru. We’ve actually added sites throughout the state as we’ve gone into phase one in other parts of the state that didn’t necessarily have as significant of an epidemic. So we want to continue to do that. And then we are going to continue, obviously, to have these National Guard teams going to the nursing homes and long term care facilities. And this mobile lab is going to run every day rapid testing into the future.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (34:38)
Also an update on reemployment assistance. As of last night, the state of Florida has now paid out $1.8 billion since the pandemic hit. Since Monday morning, there’ve been 53,575 new unique claimants that have been processed and paid. And there were 356,776 payments made just this week alone. And we’re obviously going to have more going on this weekend. So let me just say that I really believe in South Florida’s future, I think this has been an incredible engine for the state, particularly when we were here for the Superbowl, you look, unemployment so low statewide, people coming down to invest in Miami, people coming down to invest in places like Fort Lauderdale. We’re going to get back there. We need to get back there. And we need South Florida to help lead the way. So I believe that this is a small step, but it’s not the final step. And we’re going to get back, get our mojo back, and be back to where we need to be.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (35:44)
And the final thing I’ll just say to people is you have all this stuff with the mitigation efforts. And the news reports you see are people … How many cases? How many this? And obviously, that’s important information, but there are a lot of millions and millions of Floridians who never didn’t even know anyone who was necessarily affected by coronavirus, but they sure have been affected by some of these mitigation efforts. You have students who weren’t able to graduate from high school, people who missed the senior prom, you’ve had weddings and other family gatherings have to get canceled. So this has been a very, very trying time and a lot of those folks, people need to understand those folks have faced a lot as well. And so as we get back, we need to make sure we’re back to where people can do those things again, people can live life to the fullest. And that’s the goal that we’re all shooting for. So with that, I’m happy to take some questions.

Press: (36:54)
[inaudible 00:10: 50].

Governor Ron DeSantis: (37:00)
Yeah, I think we’re going to put out tomorrow, I’m going to be in Jacksonville, putting out kind of our next steps. The phase one that we did did not include all the phase one that could have been done under the guidelines. So we’re going to make an announcement on that tomorrow, but suffice it to say what they’re proposing will be authorized starting Monday.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (37:47)
So what I would say to that is it’s important for the staff to avail themselves of those resources. So any ALF in Miami-Dade or Broward, send your staff to these facilities. We’ve always from the beginning of it had a dedicated line for healthcare workers. And obviously, those workers are probably the most important. Because if you work at a hospital, you’re likely going to get tested at a hospital now. You won’t even need to go through it. So I would say, do send them there every two weeks, run them through, and it should just be a matter of course. We have the tests available to do it. We will provide the tests if we need to.

Press: (38:23)
[inaudible 00:12:23].

Governor Ron DeSantis: (38:23)
Well, we are sending people in. But I think you may know there’s over 4,000 facilities in the state of Florida. So we have National Guard strike teams. The Mayor is going to work with hospitals, both mayors. I know we want hospitals to be able to go in. I just spoke this morning with the White House. They’re going to send some of Admiral Giroir’s folks down. And then we’re also working with some private providers to be able to do it. And then we also have some tests now, some of these mouth tests, I guess it’s saliva, where those can potentially be administered by the workers there to the residents and the other workers. So I think-

Governor Ron DeSantis: (39:03)
The workers there to the residents and the other workers. So I think you’re seeing us really push hard to expand the menus of options. But I would just say we’re sending people to facilities, but we’ve tended to go where there was the most acute need. We have thousands of facilities in Florida that have not had a single infection during this time period. That’s unbelievable. I can guarantee you, you look at like New Jersey, some of these places they’ve had a much tougher go. So they have done a great job here in Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (39:29)
But yes, make sure the staff is getting tested. We have the sites available. You will go right through. You’ll be a priority and we want to continue to do that. So we’re going to actually be unveiling kind of our next step plan on this. Department of health, I asked them to do this last week, so they’re finalizing that. But I told them surgeries, there’s in fact, a lot of the resources we have now were me already taking resources and other places and putting them in the ALS. I was doing this weeks ago when nobody was really talking about it. But it was clear that, that’s where really the most vulnerabilities lied. [crosstalk 00:40:08]

Governor Ron DeSantis: (40:13)
So I just signed something today till June 2nd, extended, June 2nd. Foreclosures and evictions. Yep. Yep. Yep. Announce that tomorrow. I know that’s something that’s probably near and dear to your heart. So stay tuned on that. Look you had certain guidelines that CDC put out and they think that gyms were like a problem. So that’s why they were closed. I think if you do sanitation… First of all, this is a virus that if you’re in good shape, you’re probably going to be okay. So why would we want to dissuade people from going to be in shape? So we’re going to have an announcement on that tomorrow. But I think it’s really important that people have access to gym and two different exercise.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (41:03)
The data on this is overwhelming. If you look in some of these jurisdictions, any under 65, it’s like 90 plus percent of the folks under 65 that have had fatalities have had serious conditions. And many of that has been tied to obesity. So let’s tell people to get out, do those things. That’s one of the reasons why I always promoted outdoor activity, a lot of people said, “Oh my gosh, how could you have people golf or do this, or do that?” The fact of the matter is outdoors is our friend, getting out and doing things there. The transmission is much more efficient in enclosed environments. So Florida has nice weather. We should take advantage of that.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (41:45)
We’ve had golf courses running outside of Southeast Florida the whole time. The villages, their retirement community in central Florida, they had like record T sheets and there’s zero people from the villages, in that UF hospital in the villages right now. So clearly you can be active and be safe. There’s no problem doing that. So, but we’re going to have an announcement tomorrow. That’s going to encompass the gyms. [crosstalk 00:42:11]

Governor Ron DeSantis: (42:19)
Yeah. So the question was, “How do you go from kind of phase one to phase two?” If you look at it, the different stuff, the phase two really isn’t that much different than what Florida’s done already. Just in the sense of we never closed daycare’s. We had them open throughout the whole time. I’m not aware of a single outbreak emanating from a daycare, from a child, infecting a parent. And we had them open the whole time. So the childcare and the child activities we think that those need to go anyways. And then really it’s basically, about opening up bars and some of those things.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (42:57)
So we’ll obviously look at it, but I think the main thing is keep going in a good direction, keep building on success and then we’ll have a good pathway forward. [crosstalk 00:43:08] What? [crosstalk 00:43:13] So if we’re not going to go back… I’ve been a broken record on this from the beginning I was criticized, but it was the absolute right approach. We have a diverse state. The epidemic that Carlos dealt with is way different than the epidemic that Mayor Curry dealt with in Jacksonville, or that people dealt with in Pasco or the panhandle.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (43:34)
So I’m not going to be sitting here, rolling back the entire state, if there’s an outbreak in say, Hialeah or something. So these are going to be local things, and they’re going to be having to look and deal with that. But the state of Florida, we have so many places where the case load is so low and really outside of prisons and nursing homes, we’re seeing very few cases.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (43:58)
[crosstalk 00:43:58] I don’t know what the Florida chamber is saying. I mean, I go by the beat of my own drummer. I’m not singing their tune or anybody else’s tune. I haven’t had any discussions about phase two. But again, if you look at it, if you actually read those phases, we started… Florida’s April was way above where any of these other States were even on their phase one. So just understand we’re starting from a much higher baseline. I kept construction going. Actually, we were we’re accelerating road projects here in Miami. I got I-4 ultimate. We’re going to have… I think on Monday, we’re going to have a nice unveiling of these great new interchanges. We accelerated projects by months and saved huge… I think we saved money doing it too, which is important, but that’s going to reduce traffic. So we started here. Some of these other places are here, and that’s the way it’s going to be.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (44:57)
[crosstalk 00:44:57] So, right. So if the economy is functioning and we have job opportunities, then obviously you should have to look for a job before you get unemployment. We waived that just because there was a situation where the economy, basically there was a national shutdown, so a lot of this stuff was stopping. But that’ll be dependent on how things pick up. I do think that there is some pent up demand. I think people want to get out there. Obviously they want to be safe, but I think we’ve shown that’s going to happen. And a lot of the big companies, Disney, they furloughed like 75,000 people. But I think they’re going to bring them all back. At least that’s my hope to be able to do that.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (45:44)
So yeah, I would love to have an economy where people are hiring and then obviously you’re required to look for a job. If no one’s hiring and businesses aren’t open, then it’s not realistic to ask someone. So that’s why I waived that.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (45:59)
All right, we’re going to go. I got to go over to Collier County. I think the mayors can stay and answer some more questions, but we are going… We got some fires over there. Maybe it rained, so hopefully. But we’ll have a good announcement tomorrow as well for next steps for the rest of the state. [crosstalk 00:07:19].

Carlos Giménez: (46:24)
Can’t hear you with this. Right now, he’s indicated that he’s going to make changes tomorrow. And that the plan that we submitted will be consistent with what he’s going to do. [crosstalk 00:46:45] I’m sorry? No, no restaurants are on Monday, May 18th. Yeah. Again, our plan called for 50%, the governor has said that he’s going to make an announcement tomorrow. And our plan is consistent with what he wants to do. We’re going to be hiring more contact tracers here in Miami Dade County, we’re going to get to between 800 to a thousand contact tracers for Miami Dade County. 800 to 1,000. [crosstalk 00:47:21] Yeah. We’re going to have between 800 and a thousand contact racers here in Miami Dade. As soon as we can get them all. Excuse me, I’m sorry? As soon as we can get them. We’re working on it right now. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:47:37] I’m sorry?

Carlos Giménez: (47:39)
We’ve got to get all the coastal cities to buy in. And I know that Miami Beach is very hesitant to do that. And so we want to make sure that the date is consistent. Both with Broward County and Miami Dade are both opening up at the same time and then get buy in from everybody [crosstalk 00:47:56] I’m sorry? Yes, we know. Yes we know. And like the governor said these are the facilities that we’re most worried about, prisons and longterm care nursing homes. And we’ve got to go into them and just have the folks that are providing the care, the folks that are taking care of them to be tested more often something we talked about today. [crosstalk 00:48:27] I’m sorry? [crosstalk 00:48:30]. We’re looking into that because we understand that a lot of folks that are working at the nursing homes there, they have a reluctance to get tested, because if they come up positive, they’ll be out for two weeks. We’re looking at a way, can we compensate that in one way or another, to take that disincentive away from them. But we’re also looking at what way we can start to test them more often. Because that’s the vulnerable population. That’s really where we have to focus in on right now. We’re looking at the ways that we may be able to do that. All right. For a certain period of time. Okay. Anything else? Thank you.