‘We need folks to return to service:’ Governor asks retired first responders to fight COVID-19

Gov. Ron DeSantis seeks help fighting coronavirus in Florida

A doctor examines Juan Vasquez for a COVID-19 test inside a testing tent at St. Barnabas hospital on March 20, 2020 in New York City. St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx set-up tents to triage possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main Emergency department area. (Misha Friedman, Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Recently retired law enforcement and healthcare workers are being asked to head to the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19, per Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order.

“We need folks to come and return to service,” he said at a news conference at the Hardrock Stadium coronavirus testing site in Miami Gardens Monday morning.

The order allows recently retired law enforcement officers and healthcare workers to return to workforce. Under Florida law, people who retire from these fields are not allowed to return within six months of retirement.

As coronavirus cases near the 5,000 mark in Florida, DeSantis said the state needs all the manpower possible to eliminate the virus.

Part of his strategy is supplying coronavirus hot spots with hydroxychloroquine, a pharmaceutical drug occasionally used to treat COVID-19.

“Just yesterday, the FDA approved its use under the right circumstances,” DeSantis said, adding it has already been distributed to hospitals throughout South Florida.

In a previous address to his constituents, the governor said a shipment would also make its way to the Orlando area.

He added Florida has obtained 45-minute coronavirus rapid tests, meant to diagnose potential patients in less than an hour. These tests have been distributed throughout Southeast Florida and North Florida as the state awaits on a shipment of five-minute tests from another private lab.

This effort is also to help protect healthcare workers who need to get tested more often as they are consistently exposed to the illness.

According to the governor, about 30% of hospital beds are available across the state. He hopes to maintain this statistic as testing expands throughout Florida.

“Listen to all your local officials,” he said. “We’re all safer at home.”

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