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UPDATED: FL Ag Comm Asks Governor for Stay-at-Home Order; Miami Test Site Opens Monday

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to implement a statewide “stay at home” order in response to the increasing number of coronavirus cases.

Read her full statement below:

“I want to recognize the difficult choices the Governor has had to make in this public health crisis. No Governor in recent history would have expected to have to make a decision like California, New York, or Illinois have made in the past 72 hours. Shutting down one of the nation’s largest states is a decision that will have an economic impact – but it is a decision that will save lives. Based on the data, we know we are a week behind California’s vast increase in COVID-19 cases. The individuals and businesses I’ve spoken with are growing more anxious by the day. As the nation’s third largest state, we need to go further, and we cannot afford to lose another week.”

She continues:

“I am asking the Governor to consider implementing a statewide “stay-at-home” order, closing all non-essential businesses for a reasonable timeframe, after which time the situation could be reassessed. A piecemeal approach of closing certain communities and businesses risks sowing further confusion. I encourage the Governor to take this decisive action today to save lives and preserve Florida’s economy for our shared future. I will stand by the Governor should he make this difficult decision, and I implore him to do so now.”

Meanwhile, Gov. DeSantis said during a briefing Saturday that said almost 1,200 tests were administered at the Memorial Health drive-thru testing site in Broward County.

He also announced new testing sites at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.

The Hard Rock Stadium site will open to the general public on March 23 at 9 a.m. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., testing will be available there to first responders only.

In addition, testing will be available only for individuals age 65 or older, and the person must have COVID-19 symptoms and a state-issued identification to be tested.

Those who are tested will be instructed to wait 48-72 hours for results from a health representative.

Medics from the Florida Army National Guard will be administering specimen collection, which involves swabbing the nasal cavity.

Out of those who have been diagnosed with the virus to date, those with serious conditions have typically been over the age of 60. However the majority of the infected are under the age of 60, the governor added.

As of Sunday morning, there are 830 confirmed cases in Florida, and 13 deaths. South Florida remains the epicenter, with 59 cases in Palm Beach County, 180 in Broward County, and 177 in Miami-Dade County. In addition, Palm Beach County reported its first coronavirus-related death, an 88-uear-old-man, overnight.