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UPDATED: Gov. DeSantis Considers More Facilities, as Face Masks Arrive

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference late Sunday morning at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, one day ahead of the venue’s opening as a coronavirus testing site.

DeSantis stated that due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in South Florida, “we want to work hard with the folks in South Florida with the prevention and mitigation and containment efforts.”

To that end, the stadium’s parking lot will be turned into a drive-thru testing site beginning at 9 a.m. Monday.

In addition, testing is available to first responders on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Individuals 65 and older will be accepted for testing, 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 to 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.

The testing site will be located in the East Parking Lot at the stadium, which is located at 347 Don Shula Drive in Miami Gardens.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez also said Sunday that he is working with Jackson Health Systems, the University of Miami, and the Marlins to bring a free, drive-thru test site to Marlins Park.

Additional details will be available Monday, Gimenez added. He is currently finalizing details on when the site will open.

South Florida is the epicenter of the outbreak in the state. As of Sunday morning, there were 59 reported cases in Palm Beach County, 180 in Broward, and 177 in Miami-Dade, and 13 deaths statewide.

According to the Health Department, the person who died in Palm Beach County was an 88-year-old man.

Three deaths in Broward, reported earlier by the state, include a 77-year-old man, a 92-year-old man and a 96-year-old woman, all of whom were residents at Atria Willow Wood, a senior living facility.

DeSantis emphasized that the virus tends to attack those over age 60 more often that it affects children, and reminded Floridians to practice social distancing, even within households. He explained that the state is experiencing an increase in cases from within the same households.

Addressing the concern that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Florida has doubled since Thursday, the governor explained, “Some of that is to be expected. Florida is testing more people today than they were before.”

In addition to announcing efforts to test those most at risk to exposure from the disease, DeSantis stressed that he and his staff are preparing for a growing number of hospitalizations.

The governor said Florida has 18,131 available beds statewide, including 1,700 beds in intensive-care units. Nearly one-third of the state’s hospitals have at least half of their space available.

The state is building a field hospital in Broward County and plans another in Miami-Dade, each with capacity for 250 people, as officials consider also using six vacant medical facilities.

The state received 300,000 of the higher, medical grade N95 face masks Saturday and will give health-care workers and first responders priority in obtaining them, said Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Another two-million masks should arrive this week, and will be distributed to those in need, including workers in nursing homes.

Moskowitz asked people to avoid large crowds at places such as beaches, adding, “The beaches will still be there” for later use.

State officials have not issued an order closing all beaches at this time, leaving that decision to each municipality instead.

The governor said earlier in the weekend that seven other seniors from Willow Wood have been infected, and another four residents are awaiting test results.

The facility failed to properly screen construction workers, staff and cooks who were allowed to work their jobs without restrictions while sick, according to DeSantis.