Gov. Ron DeSantis said this week that it could prove helpful to test certain international travelers for COVID-19 as testing improves and becomes more widely available.
In making the statement during a visit to Miami Beach on Wednesday, DeSantis pointed to recent issues involving cruise ship passengers who had the virus, as he expressed interest in requiring rapid testing for people arriving to the Sunshine State from COVID-19 hot spots.
“If you’re coming from like a Brazil and or coming from these other places, it would be good to have those tests available and done so that as people come to Florida, we know that people aren’t necessarily carrying the virus,” DeSantis said while attending an event highlighting a COVID-19 field hospital being set up by the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers inside the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“Miami has gone through a lot here. Other parts of Florida have gone through a lot here,” DeSantis continued. “We’ve had a lot of dislocation economically. We’re trying to mitigate that, and we’re trying to bounce back from it. But to go through all that and then just have people coming in internationally or even domestically and seeding it all over again, I think is a problem.”
DeSantis, who has already issued executive orders requiring travelers from the hot spots of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Louisiana to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Florida, plans to discuss his proposal with President Trump.
“The fact of the matter is airplanes are what brought the virus to the United States,” DeSantis explained. “We’ve got to think smart about this. But I think we want to have people to be able to function as a society. But I think there are ways to do that much smarter.”
In terms of schools and the virus, DeSantis said Thursday that he has not decided when to reopen schools around the state.
“If it’s safe, we want kids to be in school,” he said during a roundtable discussion with educators who lauded the state’s efforts to implement virtual classrooms. “I think most parents want that as well.”
Today’s #COVID19 news briefing will be at 3:00 PM. Watch it on the @floridachannel at https://t.co/ov30ov599d. pic.twitter.com/z3MogIQk6T
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 9, 2020
The governor added he will decide whether to extend schools’ closing beyond the May 1 timeline based on how and where the disease spreads during the next three weeks.
If Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties continue to host nearly 60 percent of cases statewide, DeSantis said it may be possible to allow schools in other parts of Florida to reopen while they remain closed in the three South Florida counties.
“It may be that every county is not going to be treated the same in this and there’s nothing wrong with that if the problem is different in different parts of the state,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis also announced that the state’s office of emergency management is sending out “one of the biggest shipments of supplies in the department’s history” to first responders and front line health care workers across Florida .
This included, “two million surgical masks, 300,000 face shields, more than 50,000 containers of hand sanitizer, 500,000 shoe covers, more than 100,000 gowns and 350,000 gloves,” he said.