The success Florida has seen against COVID-19, relative to many other states, stemmed from “a tailored and measured approach,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday, contrasting his actions with “draconian orders” issued by most other governors.
Florida had less than 500 COVID-19 patients on ventilators as of Monday night and lower or comparable numbers compared to states where harsher measures were imposed.
DeSantis resisted issuing a stay at home order until April 1, repeatedly emphasizing the bulk of the state’s cases were in a few areas.
“You look at some of the most draconian orders that have been issued in some of these states and compare Florida in terms of hospitalizations per 100,000, in terms of our fatalities per 100,000,” DeSantis said after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. “Everyone in the media was saying that Florida was going to be like New York or Italy and that has not happened.”
Officials understood that Florida is large and diverse and that the outbreak wasn’t uniform throughout the state. Most counties in the northern part of the state have case counts in the hundreds and few deaths.
“We had a tailored and measured approach that not only helped our numbers be way below what anyone predicted, but also did less damage to our state going forward,” he said.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year.
DeSantis, a Republican in his first term, said his March 11 order blocking many visitors from nursing homes and assisted-living facilities helped stem more outbreaks from happening, as well as ordering staff at the long-term facilities wear masks and other personal protective equipment.
The state used four different sets of teams focused respectively on training people on infectious control, assessing where long-term facilities had deficiencies, sending equipment to the facilities, and conducting testing at them.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management sent almost seven million masks, almost a million gloves, and 160,000 gowns to the facilities and homes, which together number over 3,700 in the state.
Quickly rolling out drive-thru testing sites and some walk-up facilities also helped contain the virus, DeSantis said, as well as helping officials learn about the illness.
DeSantis’s order is slated to expire on April 30 and he is scheduled to give details on the next steps on reopening the state on Wednesday.
“For Florida, going from where we are now to phase one is not a very big leap. We’re going to approach it in a very measured, thoughtful, and data-driven way,” the governor said.
As of April 28, Florida has 32,846 confirmed COVID-19 cases. It wasn’t clear how many of those patients have recovered. Most patients who contract the CCP virus recover outside of hospitals.
Many CCP virus patients never show symptoms, making the true number of cases higher.
The state has 5,222 total hospitalizations. The current number of patients in hospitals isn’t disclosed by state officials.
Florida has 1,171 deaths linked to COVID-19, which is 0.1 percent of the state’s population and 3.5 percent of confirmed cases.