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Health Officials Delete Tweet Asking First Responders at Protests to Get Tested for COVID-19

Ron DeSantis
Health care workers wear personal protective equipment as they stand in front of a mobile testing lab during a news conference at a COVID-19 testing site at Hard Rock Stadium, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Florida Department of Health took the rare step of deleting a tweet Thursday, retracting what it may have realized would spark confusion and additional fears during the coronavirus pandemic.

With protests in response to the killing of George Floyd still taking place across the country, the health department posted a tweet encouraging police, paramedics and other first responders to get tested for COVID-19 if they have been part of such gatherings.

“Any first responder in Florida who has been to mass gatherings or protests is recommended to get tested for #COVID19,” the tweet read.

Shortly thereafter, the department deleted the tweet and explained, “The tweet was deleted because it’s important that anyone who has been around large groups of people to get tested, regardless of their profession.”

Health officials are concerned that the protests, which often go on for hours, make it very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain social distancing.

The number of cases reported by the Department of Health on Thursday shows that 60,183 people throughout the state have contracted coronavirus.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday that all counties, with the exception of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade, could enter Phase 2 of his reopening plan by Friday.

Bars, pubs, movie theaters and bowling alleys are among the businesses that will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent of their capacity. In addition, retail stores in those 64 counties can transition to full capacity on Friday.