Gov. DeSantis directs EOC to level one operations, FDOH to hire additional staff

Published: Updated:
Gov. DeSantis holds news conference concerning COVID-19. (WINK News)

Governor DeSantis held a news conference at the state emergency operations center concerning COVID-19 Saturday afternoon.

He directed the EOC to move their operations to level one and also instructed the Florida Department of Health to hire additional epidemiologists and public health staff.

All existing nursing home licenses will be extended by 30 days as well as visitation restrictions at all places catering to the elderly. Exceptions will be made for compassionate visitation.

In addition, driver’s license renewals, as well as professional licensing renewals, will be suspended for 30 days.

The state is working to bring home 61 Florida residents who were on the Grand Princess cruise ship docked off the coast of San Fransisco. FDOH is working to test them and they will have to self-isolate but will be brought home safely.

At this time, DeSantis said we are starting to see cases of COVID-19 brought in from other U.S. states, particularly New York. He says we will likely see that number grow, but the stat is still working to contain those with the virus to help stop the spread.

DeSantis says the travel ban placed for the UK and Ireland will be beneficial to Florida, as we have had several cases brought in from people traveling to the state from those countries.

As of Saturday, Broward County has seen the most cases in Florida with a vast majority of them linked to international travel. However, there are three cases that are not due to travel and are still being investigated. They show evidence of community spread.

Florida Surgeon General Scott A. Rivkees, M.D. said all hands are on deck with a large, coordinated response. He reenforced the symptoms of the virus to be fever, dry cough and feeling tired and recommends avoiding crowds.

If you have traveled to Florida from an international destination or from any hot spots in the U.S., you are asked to please watch for symptoms and avoid public places as well as the elderly for 14 days.

The EOC has plenty of supplies including a mobile hospital that can hold up to 250 patients if necessary. They are working to order more supplies and say there is not an issue in getting them.

As for the primary elections, they are still underway. Early voting and voting by mail are still available. For any questions, you can call the Department of State’s voting hotline at 1-866-308-6739 which will remain open until the end of voting.

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