Jul 13, 2020
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis July 13 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a coronavirus press conference on July 13. DeSantis gave further COVID-19 updates, and a protestor briefly interrupted the press conference. Read the whole news briefing speech here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (00:09)
Well, good afternoon. I want to thank Carlos Migoya for hosting us again at Jackson, and thanks to mayor Carlos Gimenez for all the hard work he’s done over many, many months. Working very closely with us here and the state government. We came to Jackson in I think early March when this pandemic was really starting to pick up steam. At that point, I don’t even know if Miami-Dade had a case, a positive test may be a couple, but it was obviously much different than what we’re finding here. I think the-
… Cases every day and you are doing nothing. You are falsifying information and you are misleading the public. Over 4,000 people have died and you are blaming the protesters. You guys have no plan and you’re doing nothing. Shame on you.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (00:58)
At that time, when we were here, we had a whole bunch of concerns about what would end up happening in the next few weeks and months. We had concerns about testing. We weren’t able to even get tests. We weren’t even able to get tests for all the people who needed them at the time. In fact, there were probably hundreds of tests being conducted a day statewide and nationally, just thousands of tests that we’d be doing. That was a huge concern. How do you get testing going? There was also a big concern about a lack of personal protective equipment for the hospital employees, and obviously people who are working in the testing. Treatment was a big issue because quite frankly no one knew how to handle this virus. Nobody knew whether there was even any treatments that could work. Of course, we were monitoring the entire time hospital capacity, making sure that our hospital system would be able to handle what the clinical consequences of the virus. We went into that period with a lot of uncertainties.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (02:09)
Florida was able to get through the March and April wave, but we knew that with regards to this virus, that period wasn’t the end, or really even the beginning of the end, but really the end of the beginning. Throughout May and the beginning part of June, we were fortunate to be able to have a very low rate of people testing positive. The cases were low, the hospital census was low and that was a good trend that was happening. Then as you got into mid June, you started to see the cases rise. Yes the testing was rising too, but the percentage of people who were testing positive instead of being three, four, five percent like it had been in May and early June, was now going up to where it ended up hitting even 15% just last week. You also saw an increasing amount of traffic starting in that third week of June for people visiting the emergency department with COVID like illnesses.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (03:13)
Throughout May and early June it was very low and steady, same thing with influenza like illnesses. Of course, we started to see more admissions for coronavirus into our hospital system, particularly here in Miami-Dade County. I know many Floridians are filled with apprehension as they wonder what does this mean? What do these trends mean for our health, for our families and for our jobs? How long is this going to go on for? What’s going to happen with things like kids being in school? I hear you, and I along with our federal partners, our local leaders and our great medical community, we’re working nonstop to be able to respond to this crisis. Now we have to address the virus with steady resolve. We can’t get swept away in fear. We have to understand what’s going on, understand that we have a long road ahead, but we also have to understand that within the context of the moment.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (04:16)
A comment on some of the cases, because I think that we hear a lot about a number of cases. That is true, that somebody has tested positive. That creates a case the way that stuff is reported. It’s also important to understand if you have X number of cases, how many tests were conducted to be able to get to that many tests? For example, the last two days, people have talked about a record number two days ago, and then today not as many, but still a significant amount. Two days ago the state of Florida conducted 144,000 cases. To put that in perspective, when we were here in March, we were probably doing hundreds a day. Then we got up to doing five to 10,000 a day. The whole United States was probably not doing 144,000 tests at the beginning of March. That is an enormous amount of test. This today’s report was 112,000, 113,000 tests. That is a huge, huge number.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (05:21)
Fortunately, although the cases were commensurately high with that testing, the percentage of people who were testing positive has finally started to decline. We’ll see if that’s a trend or whether that’ll be something that is short-lived. Certainly, we can say that the percentage of people who come in and test positive has stabilized. Throughout March and April we would have typically 90 to 92% of everyone who would test would come back negative. As we got into May and the beginning of June, we would typically have 95% of the people who test would come back negative. More recently, it’s been about 85% of the people who test come back negative. We’d like to get that back to where 90 plus percent of the people are testing negative. We think we’ve stabilized, we think we may be going in that direction.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (06:11)
It’s also the case that as you’ve seen more cases, we’ve also seen a decline in the case fatality rate. Florida as of today was 1.5%. That’s a fraction of the national average, which is about four percent. Then in other states you’re looking at states that have had six, seven, eight percent. I think that’s partially because the folks here in Florida have really learned a lot about how to treat this. Also, it’s to the fact that many of our cases are occurring in people who are low risk, particularly people in their 20s, 30s and early 40s. Nevertheless, I think that that’s something that bears mentioning. We’re in a situation where we’re taking action every day to be able to address the issue with the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday, or excuse me, Saturday, we were able to get the therapeutic remdesivir dropped in Florida hospitals across the state.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (07:05)
That was a request because even though they were due a shipment sometimes I think at the end of this week or next week, they wanted to have enough because they were using it. The physicians like it, and with the uptake in people in the hospital was needed. That was able to drop. We’re obviously going to work to make sure that that supply is replenished as much as we can going forward. We’re also assisting at the state level with places throughout Florida, but particularly in South Florida with personnel, medical personnel, particularly nurses. Carlos Migoya will talk about if you look at the number of beds available countywide or statewide, there’s a lot of beds available. I think the sense of statewide, I think there’s 13 or 14,000 beds that are available. The key is having the requisite personnel to be able to address not just COVID patients, but also people that come in for things other than COVID.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (07:56)
We’ve already dedicated 100 personnel that the state had had on contract basis to Jackson here in Miami-Dade, we’ve put 100 on the way into the Tampa Bay area. We have a total of 1,000 that are going to be parceled out, which is with our initial mobilization, but we’re also going ahead and mobilizing another 2,000. Now some of those will be used to support our COVID only long-term care facilities. Some will be able to go to the traditional long-term care facilities to sub in for staff who may test positive, and who can no longer be around the residents. Personnel is probably the number one thing that I have heard from our hospitals in our medical community, and so we’re delivering. We also have a request pending with the federal government, with HHS, for some of their teams to be able to come down and assist the effort. We also are expanding the amount of beds in our COVID only nursing facilities.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (08:55)
Florida from the very beginning prohibited discharging COVID positive patients into a nursing home from a hospital if they were still sick with the virus. We also later as we went on and required that COVID positive patients be transferred from a nursing home if they were to happen to test positive there. Now, sometimes that just means they get sent to the hospital. A lot of times they’re not necessarily in need of hospitalization. They’re medically stable, but they do need to be isolated. We now have I think about 14 facilities, and we seem to be adding some every day under the leadership of secretary Mary Mayhew.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (09:34)
We’re rapidly expanding beds in those facilities, including at the Miami Care Center here in Dade. We’re also expanding in Broward and Palm Beach counties. This will provide a safe place where a COVID positive resident of a long-term care facility can be isolated. If they’re in the hospital and they’re medically stable but they’re still contagious they can be discharged safely to these facilities without endangering the other residents in their home long-term care facility. We’re also doing and in the midst of getting-
Governor Ron DeSantis: (10:03)
From care facility. We’re also doing, and in the midst of getting the results back, with testing every worker at a longterm care facility, all staff, almost 200,000 staff on every other week basis. So every two weeks they’re getting swabs, we’re sending it in, and we’re getting the results back. So we’ve got results back for over a hundred thousand of the staff. And fortunately the percent positive has been under 3%, and that’s probably lower than we anticipated, given the prevalence in the community seems to be higher than 3%. So that is going to be an important way to protect those who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, our residents in longterm care facilities, they represent about 50% of the COVID related fatalities here in Florida, and in many other States.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (10:49)
We’re also looking to help fortify lab resources at hospitals. When people come into the hospital, if they have COVID symptoms, it’s very important for the hospital to know whether they’re positive or not, so that they can be treated accordingly. Hospitals are running low on some of the lab chemicals, we’re working with the White House to try to get more supply down to the State of Florida for our hospitals. We also understand there’s a need for faster results for people who are going through things like the drive through testing sites.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (11:20)
The fact of the matter is that there’s a lot of testing going on throughout the State of Florida. You’ll have probably 700 plus thousand tests a day that are being processed mostly by commercial labs. They are backed up, and so when people go through a lot of times, they’re not getting their results back for seven days. Obviously we want to improve that, and so what we’re going to start doing here in Dade, Broward and in Orange County, is establishing dedicated lanes, particularly for people who are symptomatic, where they can then test, swab and then go to a lab that can turn it around quicker so that they get their results. So we’re going to be working on that, which is very, very important. So we have capacity throughout the health system, Carlos Migoya will talk about that. It’s very important for people to understand they plan for these types of eventual realities and they’re keeping their census, overall census, very stable, even as COVID has represented an increasing part of the census. We have a special obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, and we’re obviously doing a lot… (Silence) And so here in Miami Dade County that means being diligent about wearing the facial covering, that means following the other directives that he and some of the other officials here have put on. It really will make a difference if everyone does their part.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (13:08)
At the State, we have also stressed the need to avoid the three Cs when it comes to social distancing, and that is a closed spaces where you’re packed in tight in poor ventilation, that is a good venue for the virus to spread. Also crowded places, the more people that you have together, the more likely you are to see a spread. And then really close sustained contact. Most of the infections occur in the home because you have close sustained contact amongst family members. That’s just something to think about, whether you’re with friends and family that is as a vector for transmission.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (13:48)
So we have all guns blazing here, we’re going to continue to be providing support statewide, but particularly here in South Florida, where we see the epidemic is the most significant. And I just think it’s important to note that I was talking to one of the leaders of a hospital system in Central Florida, and he said we’re having much better success discharging patients back home, who are healthy at this point. Better success than what they had in March and April. And so I think that’s a Testament to the folks who’ve been really working hard in the medical system here in the State of Florida, but I think it gives us all hope that we’re going to get through this. And with that, I want to recognize my friend, Mayor Jimenez, for his comments.
Mayor Jimenez: (14:33)
Thank you, Governor. And if that reporter, it’s really distracting, what you’re doing. Thank you. I want to thank you Governor for being here, and showing, and giving us all the support of the State to the people of Miami Dade County. We know that we’re going through a rough time here. We’ve have over 2000 people down in the hospital with COVID-19, we have over 400 people in ICUs, we have over 200 people in ventilators. These are all record highs for us.
Mayor Jimenez: (15:02)
As the Governor said, everybody’s focused in on the number of people that tested positive. That’s really not something that we really focus in on because we know that there’s a heck of a lot more people that have the COVID-19, they’re actually reported officially. We look at the positivity rate, and the positivity rate here in Miami Dade County now is over 25%. We have taken some measures, and we’ve instituted new rules and regulations. We’ve instituted a curfew to try to drive down the level, the positivity rate, down so that we can start to reduce the number of people that we have residents that are in the hospital.
Mayor Jimenez: (15:38)
We do not want to overload the hospital capacity of Miami Dade County. The Governor has been great in adding additional resources here in Miami Dade County, to our hospitals. He will continue to do that. Also thank you all for your efforts and bringing the medicines that we need down here and the resources we need down here. And so, again, very appreciative of that, but the message that I want to give the community is that we have to follow the rules. Please if you follow the rules, if we all do what we’re supposed to do, we can drive the level of contagion down here in Miami Dade County.
Mayor Jimenez: (16:15)
Contact tracing is something that we need to have. We need additional contact tracers, but at the end, until we start to drive down the contagion level here in Miami Dade County, we really can’t get a handle on it. And so, again, it’s up to us to reduce the level, it’s up to us to protect each other, it’s up to us to protect the economy, because if we don’t, if we continue to have further rise in the level of contagion, and more and more people going to the hospital, we have to take additional measures that will actually roll back some of the openings that we had in the past.
Mayor Jimenez: (16:52)
And so again, the message is, please follow the rules, maintain social distancing, wash your hands, don’t touch your face with your hands. And if we all do that, then we can drive this contagion level down, we can stop the rise in the number of people going into the hospital, and then we can get back to normal much faster. And so thank you Governor for all your efforts. Thank you also, Carlos Migoya, in coordinating our efforts here with all the hospitals. And as the Governor said, they are very creative in how to create additional capacity in Miami Dade. And I’m sure that we’re going to have less and less of the elective surgeries being conducted here, as a matter of fact, most of them have stopped, it’ll create additional capacity. And so we’re not there yet, but again, it’s up to us to make sure that we never get there. And so with that I’m going to turn it back over to Carlos Migoya, who’s the present CEO of Jackson Health System.
Carlos Migoya: (17:50)
Thank you Mayor. And first of all, I want to thank you Governor for being here. I also want to thank you for your support. Those hundred nurses came in very handy at the right time. And for the meds and all the support that you’re working. I know you’re working on the reagents as well for the labs, which something that right now for us is extremely near and dear, as we test every patient that walks in the door. We are entering our fifth month of having COVID patients. Probably right around now, this is probably about four months ago, I think, Governor you’re absolutely right, it’s about the time that you got here. And it was around the time that we had our first patients in the door, and that makes it very, very difficult for all our employees, specifically the healthcare workers that are dealing with these patients on a day to day basis. The stress that goes with that is extremely, extremely difficult. And it works through them to every other employee in the hospital.
Carlos Migoya: (18:44)
We have seen a dramatic increase of patients over the last 30 days, about three, four weeks ago, we were around 200 patients, today, we’re exceeding 400 patients of which about a hundred of them are in ICU. The challenge with that is not necessarily the fact that we’re running out of… Everybody covers the fact that, “Oh, you have so many patients, you can’t get any more.” We have been able to manage from the 200 to the 400 number by maintaining our census the same. How have we done that? You might ask. Is the fact that we have reduced the number of surgeries that we’re doing. And by doing that, we’re getting less non COVID patients in the door.
Carlos Migoya: (19:21)
Our census throughout the system, it runs in the mid 1300 range at this time of the year. And we’ve been able to maintain that for the last month, in spite of the fact that we went from 200 to 400, that means we have a higher percentage of COVID patients today that we did a month ago. That is obviously very stressful to every employee because we have to make sure that we have the PPE and they’re on, and make sure everybody’s covered and protected. So the three things that we work on here every day, which are extremely, extremely important priorities are to make sure that we admit only the people that need to be admitted, that we discharged the people, once they don’t need hospitalization, as quickly as possible to make a bed available for the next patient, and last, but certainly not.
Carlos Migoya: (20:03)
… a bed available for the next patient, and last but certainly not least is making sure that all our employees are protected, not only in the hospital, but in the community so that we can keep them working and being able to take the patients as much as we can. We have seen an increase of employees with symptoms that have a higher percentage of COVID and it’s still on an overall percentage of our employees, it’s not as big of an issue, and having those extra nurses have really helped us a lot. But we are managing the numbers. It’s not as the governor said, it’s not the number of beds. We have the beds available. It’s a staff necessary to do that. And to do that, we got to make sure not only that we have those extra nurses that the state provided us, but also make sure that our employees continue to work and doing the things that are necessary.
Carlos Migoya: (20:50)
We saw for a while, the number of inpatients age becoming younger, and we saw that for a while. Now, the same number of younger patients are being admitted, but because the increase has happened, in that increase, we’re seeing older people coming back in. That means that the younger people have been contaminating the older people and making it difficult for the older people.
Carlos Migoya: (21:13)
So on a percentage basis, the number of younger people has reduced, but the absolute number of people are the same. So those are the challenges we’re worrying today. Every day is a challenge. We’re still doing some surgeries, predominantly the emergencies, as you would imagine. We have also a lot of patients that need surgery outside of COVID. COVID is not the only disease, unfortunately, in Miami, and many of these people have been deferred for too long and now have become emergent patients.
Carlos Migoya: (21:43)
So this is a tough balance that we’re dealing with today. We focus every day on our employees and the employees are focusing on the patients, and the best that we can do. But I will tell you that we just came off the mayor joined me in our four o’clock meeting today with all the hospital CEOs from throughout South Florida, and we’re all going through the same balance of balancing our senses while we’re bringing in more COVID patients.
Carlos Migoya: (22:12)
We can do that for a certain period of time. We cannot do that forever. So the message, when you hear the governor, or you hear the mayor talk about the fact that we need to be social distant and we need to be wearing masks, that is the absolute answer. It’s not whether we open too early or we should shut everything down. The issue right now is enforcement. If we can get everyone to be socially distant and wear a mask, that’s the only way that we’re going to be able to reduce the number of beds being used in hospitals and be able to deal with this entire disease and reduce the deaths that are happening in our community. So that’s all I have to say, and thank you very much. And I guess we’ll leave it up to you, Governor, from here on.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (22:49)
Yes, and I would just stress after talking with pretty much every hospital that I’ve spoken to, we saw a decline in people seeking medical care for things like heart and stroke in March, April, because I don’t know if it was fear of catching coronavirus, maybe fear that there wouldn’t be room in the hospitals, and what that’s led to, I think, here too, as well, is the patients in the ICU for those conditions are now in worse shape than they would have had they sought the care.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (23:16)
So please go and seek the care that you need, particularly for those really serious ailments like heart and stroke. Delaying that is not going to be good for your health. And obviously, while the coronavirus is important thing, it’s certainly not the only issue as it relates to people’s health, and certainly when you’re talking about heart and stroke. I mean, those are major drivers of poor health outcomes. So please seek the care that you need.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (23:42)
I want to thank Carlos Migoya for having us. Thanks Carlos, Jimenez Mayor, for working hard and really collaborating with the state. And, we’re here to help. We’re going to do more. We’re working with the federal government to deploy some additional teams, because I do think it’s really about people power at this point, from the medical perspective. And I know you guys have capacity, but we got to have those good folks here. So with that, I’m happy to take some questions.
Governor, I’m going to ask, what’s the actual plan, because we talked about nursing homes, we talked about healthcare, and testing, but you didn’t answer anything on what you’re trying to do around those?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (24:18)
Well, all those. I mean, the nursing home is probably the number one thing you can do to reduce the risk of mortality, because if you look at our mortality statistics for coronavirus, it shoots up once you’re 75 and plus, and usually it’s because you have one or more comorbidities. And so we’re going around testing staff at nursing homes, for example.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (24:38)
If a staff tests positive, then those residents may be tested. And fortunately, most of them test negative. But if you have one that tests positive, they need to be isolated at things like our COVID-only nursing facility, because if not, it will spread, and that is the most vulnerable population that it will spread to.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (24:55)
So that’s a huge way to not only reduce the spread, but to protect those who are the most vulnerable to the spread. Look, I wish if you could just stop it, you could stop it. But there’s a huge difference between a 21 year old and an 85 year old when it comes to this coronavirus. So that is really, really important in terms of our strategy to protect the most vulnerable and reduce infections amongst those who are most susceptible to negative outcomes. Yes, sir?
The number of tests, like you mentioned, increased by something like 50,000 from Friday to Saturday, and then again, over a hundred thousand yesterday. Well, what’s changed that we have so many more testing now in Florida?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (25:35)
It’s a couple things. One is just demand. I was going around in May begging people to get tested because the traffic was pretty slow in a lot of our sites. The state, we’re operating close to 50 sites, and of course, all the hospitals are testing everyone that comes in the door. So you have way more capacity. I mean, we basically have a testing industrial complex now where you can really crank them out.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (25:59)
Now, the labs aren’t quick as turnaround as we’d like, but that’s it. And these nursing home tests, while all of them haven’t been reported yet, that’s going to be 200,000 tests every two weeks, just continuing to come in. So I think that’s part of it as well. So there’s, there’s a lot of factors, but when we went into May, we wanted to do expand testing because we thought it was important as we went forward, and particularly to prepare for whatever the virus would do after we got through the March and April.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (26:27)
And we thought if we could go from 10, 15,000 tests a day to about 30,000 tests a day, man, that would really be doing good. We’re now, I mean, I think we’ve probably averaged in the last week, probably close to a hundred thousand tests a day. So when you’re looking at the cases, just understand that we are diagnosing a lot of people who are either completely asymptomatic or who have very minimal symptoms.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (26:50)
And so that’s a good thing because then those individuals can be isolated. They know they have it, they may be contagious still, but it doesn’t necessarily mean all the people that are going to test are ill. What we’re finding is, there’s a fraction of people that go more for employment reasons. There’s another fraction of people who may feel they were exposed to somebody who did test positive, and so we have the ability to do that, but it’s much different to look at cases today than it was in say March or so.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (27:18)
So some of the states that had bigger outbreaks then, they had high cases, but they were doing 20, 25,000 tests a day and getting 10,000 positives. If they were doing 140,000, they would have had 60 or 70,000 positives. So it’s a little bit different in terms of what’s going on here now. We do have a lot of testing capacity and we have a criteria, which is basically, if you want to test, come to one of the sites and do it. There’s no symptomatic screen and there’s no age screen.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (27:46)
So that just generating cases that are not clinically consequential, but important to know. But I think that we’re going to continue to do the longterm care every two weeks. So that’s going to be enough. And then we’ll see what the traffic looks like with this. You know, Miami’s been a little different because I think they’ve had pretty consistent traffic on their test sites, on their ED visits. We’ve actually had a week decline statewide in COVID-like illness ED visits.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (28:13)
We had been basically flat all through May, beginning of June. And then it went up and really crested kind of the last part of June, kind of plateaued for a little bit, and then now it’s come down. That’s now a six or seven-day trend statewide. We hope to see that. We are seeing some pretty good indicators, even though when the Sunday numbers came out, everyone’s talking about, oh, the number of cases, I was looking inside that and saw some trends where you see positivity going back down in some pretty key counties throughout Central Florida and other parts of Florida.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (28:44)
So we look for those trends as well, and I think some of those trends are positive. I think our biggest concern is South Florida right now, and that’s why we worked hard to get the medicine, and this is just the beginning of the staff support. We’re here to do more, as you guys need to do more, because we understand the challenge and we want to be there to help.
Governor, I want to ask you about lab capacity, because when you’re talking about an increased number of testing with your employers causes the backlog at the lab. So does the state have the funding to increase staffing at the labs [crosstalk 00:29:19]?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (29:20)
They’re mostly private labs. So we have labs, we have three stay labs, but they do a limited number. I mean, they’re doing, I think, about a thousand a day, which is helpful. That’s a 24-hour turnaround, but with the numbers we’re looking at, obviously we had set up to have one of the big Roche machines, just like Carlos tried to get one here. We all wanted to get them this summer, and now they’re like, “Oh, well you can get a machine in February.”
Governor Ron DeSantis: (29:44)
Well, we’re not going to need it in February. We won’t need it as much in February, hopefully. So it’s really working with private labs. Now, what we did with the longterm care is we have a company that’s kind of a newer company, and it’s a self-swab test, you send it directly to them, their data guys, they run it, they send it back and report every day.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (30:03)
… To them, they’re data guys. They run it. They send it back a report every day. That’s what we’re looking to do. Something like that for our symptomatic drive-thru test takers. So someone that’s exhibiting legitimate symptoms, we want to know, do you have it or not? And so we can do that and maybe get a quicker turnaround on that subset.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (30:18)
The problem with all the big labs is that we went from testing a 100,000 a day as a country and then even as we got into April/May, we are kind of like 400,000. Well now in the last like six weeks, we’re now in like over 700,000, I mean, Florida alone, we tested more in one day than some other countries have tested. I mean, in Taiwan, I think has tested less than 100,000 people. So that’s just… The challenge is that [crosstalk 00:00:49].
Governor Ron DeSantis: (30:50)
They have limited capacity. So you have, they’re getting backed up. They’re getting hundreds of thousands sent every day and the turnaround time is just not what we would want it to be. We were hoping to be, we wanted 48 hours. That was our agreement with some of these labs and really by the second week of June, there was no 48 hours. I mean, it was basically at least five days and some of these people are seven days.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (31:14)
The problem with that is if you’re asymptomatic and you come back positive on the seventh day, you’re probably not going to be isolating. If you don’t have symptoms, you’re probably going to go by, wait for the result. So if the goal is to stop asymptomatic spread, I think that delay really hurts it and then I also think you can test negative on day seven but you could have been infected on day six. Some ways it could be a false sense of security.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (31:38)
So we’re working on what can we do? I think with the symptomatic, this could be one way. We have the money. I mean, we could pay. If there was a way to pay, we would pay and get it turned around quicker, for sure. But I think this is a problem all around the country.
Speaker 2: (31:51)
Governor Ron DeSantis: (32:15)
Well, look, I mean, obviously we want to have safe environments across the state. I mean, we’ve obviously had a lot of operations have been going on; government. We’ve had a lot of private sector businesses and everything and I think all of those have wanted to take the appropriate precautions.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (32:32)
I would just note when you’re looking at the schools, I think that one, a lot of parents want to have the option to send them back but I also think parents should have the option to not, to do virtual if that’s what they want to do. I believe in school choice.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (32:48)
The science on it, I think is pretty clear about kids being extremely low risks when it comes to this virus and not only that, but they are not considered vectors of transmission. That’s been shown in Sweden and Switzerland. Iceland did a study. I mean, they’re all coming out the same way. So I think we just look at that and then go. But I think you can do it safely. I think that these countries are showing that it could be done safely but I do think parents should have the ability to opt for virtual if they want to. Yes, sir.
Speaker 3: (33:30)
Would you consider rolling back? [crosstalk 00:33:24].
Speaker 4: (33:30)
Are there any restrictions you may look at considering the K through 12?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (33:30)
So here’s the thing. I’m not going to dictate how everything goes. I think that you have Miami is looking at a different situation. You’re going to have a lot of school districts around the state that are going to just go, open up, and that’s going to be it because they haven’t faced a similar epidemic that you’ve seen in places like Miami-Dade County. So I’ve told the Commissioner of Education, work with these districts collaboratively, understand that we have a very diverse state. That’s been my approach to almost all of this stuff, recognizing that the response here is just going to be different than it would be in different parts of the state and I think that there’s other parts of the state, for example, address Coronavirus much differently, but it’s been effective for their area.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (34:13)
I think the same thing should be true here. My fear on this is the amount of damage that will be done if kids have no options to get back to school. We’ve put a lot of effort into virtual education in Florida. I think we mitigated the damage better than a lot of states, but I’ll tell you, there is a gap that has developed. I think it’s disproportionately hurts our low income students from low income families and I don’t know what the end point would be if you just say that they’re not going to go back to school. So you got to look at, okay, what are the risks involved? And it’s the kids. It’s very low. You can look at the adults and say the risk, but I think those have been managed and other and other areas of life.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (34:58)
But then on the other side, say, what are the risks if they don’t have an outlet to be able to do this and I think those risks are profound, not just an educational achievement that may be lost but if you look at mental health, if you look at just the social fabric, people being able, kids being able to develop, being able to participate in activities like sports, I think is very, very important.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (35:22)
But at the same time, I think we, we have to recognize that it’s a big diverse state and I’m willing to do that.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (35:27)
[inaudible 00:05:31]. Federal government did it for us.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (35:37)
So I’ve talked with Carlos about, I think pretty much everyone I’ve talked to has said, look, we can expand within our hospitals. We have the beds. I mean, statewide we’ve been between 10 and 15,000 beds consistently empty for the last three weeks, even as we’ve seen traffic come in for Coronavirus. So I think is if have the personnel they need, I think they would prefer a standard of care here and I think you can do that.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (36:03)
That was put in really part of it was thinking about maybe isolating people who were in multi-generational households. The problem is, is we’re not going to force anyone to do it but if you did have a situation like that, I know Jared Moscowitz is working with folks down here about offering hotels because what we’re seeing is, you have somebody in a household and then you have other generations, and guess what? When you’re in close contact under that same roof, the chance of it spreading is very, very high and so the question would be, would someone be willing to isolate at state expense in a hotel for a week or two? And some of them may not. Now I’m not going to force anyone out of their home but I think that’s an option just to try to stop the spread within a household if you have some vulnerable individuals there.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (36:50)
Speaker 5: (36:53)
… Providing to our area hospitals. Where are the personnel coming from? [inaudible 00:37:01]
Governor Ron DeSantis: (37:01)
So basically at the beginning of this in March, we took a number of steps to prepare for what could potentially come down the pike. Obviously there was a lot of uncertainty, so we entered into contracts with companies that provide additional staff support. I mean, these guys work with companies to do this all the time. So it’s no different than what a hospital would do. So we have folks under contract. We haven’t had to execute the contracts but after hearing from the folks here in Southern Florida, we felt we should do it.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (37:28)
So we executed the thousand that we had. Jackson has, they’ll have their hundred by the end of this week. I think they have half of them now. We’re going to be deploying a thousand around the state. Some it’ll be in our COVID only longterm care facilities to get those beds up. Some of it will be in actual longterm care facilities if someone tests positive, or a number of staff test positive, to be able to send some new staff in there to care for the residents.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (37:54)
Then we’re also going to do probably another 2,000 on top of that. So Jared Moscowitz has that lined up. We think that there’s demand from the Agency of Healthcare Administration for four to 500. That’ll partially be a lot of nursing home related staff.
Speaker 5: (38:10)
These people come from across the country?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (38:14)
Yep, yep. And so we don’t know that we’re going to have a demand for all 3,000, but our view is, from the beginning it’s like, okay, let’s just be prepared and it better to be prepared and not need it than to not be prepared at all.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (38:25)
So. Okay. Well I want to thank Mr. Migoya. I want to thank the mayor. I’m going to come back down tomorrow. I’m going to meet with Carlos. We’re going to do more that we can to help. I’m going to talk with some folks in the White House tonight to just keep moving forward but I really appreciate the hard work that you’re seeing throughout Miami-Dade County. This is the toughest part of the epidemic in our state and I know they’ve been working on it for a long time. We’ve been helping you a long time. We’re going to get through it. You guys are a strong city. You’re a strong county and you’re really a great engine for the state of Florida. So it’s not necessarily going to be easy but I’m a hundred percent confident that we’re going to get through this and in good stead.
Speaker 6: (39:04)
Thank you, governor.