In his second news conference of the day, Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infections in the state as Florida heeds his guidelines in the process of reopening.
The governor said that at the time of his announcement Friday, Florida had completed 403,275 coronavirus tests, and according to the Florida Department of Health’s statistics released the same day, 33,829 residents had tested positive.
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DeSantis released his plan to safely allow Floridians to get back to work Wednesday and outlined the steps he created to do so. On Monday, some workers will be allowed to return to their place of employment and some small businesses will be able to resume operations.
“As we go into phase one a lot of people, including me, believe that we need to have testing readily available,” DeSantis said. “As people go back to work... and the employer wants to test, they need a place to do that.”
The governor said a mobile testing unit would soon be servicing the state, pinpointing and concentrating its services on communities hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have acquired a mobile lab for testing and it’s in an RV, and we want to drive that around the state of Florida and find places that need tests, and we’re going to be able to do rapid testing with the mobile lab,” DeSantis said. “So you can go to a nursing home, you can test the staff, you can test the residents, and you can have the results back within an hour. That’s going to be a really good thing for the state of Florida.”
As people do return to work and more citizens venture into public, the concern regarding a rebound in COVID-19 infections and cases rises. The governor said he is preparing for that possibility, although no one truly knows when or if a new wave of the disease may occur.
“We don’t know if there will be a rebound, maybe there will be a rebound soon. Maybe there will be a rebound in the fall. Maybe there won’t. We don’t know, nobody really knows, so I think it’s prudent to be prepared for the eventualities,” DeSantis said.
The governor announced that the state has entered an agreement with personal protective equipment manufacturer Honeywell that would secure Florida 12 million N95 masks in order to respond to COVID-19.
“(The masks) are going to be delivered on a rolling basis and we are going to distribute them to first responders and health care workers statewide,” DeSantis said. “Any masks that are not distributed will be stockpiled and ready to go when needed.”
In what the governor called the largest logistics mission in the history of the state, DeSantis said 20 million masks, 10 million pairs of gloves, 1.5 million face shields, over a million shoe covers, over 400,000 gowns, 200,000 containers of hand sanitizer, nearly 50,000 goggles and 35,000 coveralls had been distributed to first responders and health care workers since the coronavirus was first detected in the state on March 1.
DeSantis announced earlier Friday that all state parks would open to the public on Monday as part of phase one of his plan to reopen Florida.