MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference on Monday afternoon where he declared a state of emergency over coronavirus concerns.
Governor DeSantis said the declaration will allow for a more unified command between agencies to combat the virus and will allow the state to access additional resources.
“The overall messaging, in terms of what we are seeing, is that this is a virus for the vast, vast majority of individuals will not lead to serious health complications,” DeSantis said. “However, it is pretty clear as people get older and particularly those people that have a serious underlying medical condition, those are the people who are the most at risk to have serious negative consequences from this virus including death.”
“There has been updated travel guidance…from the CDC: If you are elderly or have a serious underlying medical condition, don’t get on a cruise ship right now. Don’t take a long flight where you can be exposed to the virus and take steps to do social distancing,” he added.
The press conference took place at the Florida State Capitol.
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On Monday afternoon, Florida health officials advised individuals returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran to self-isolate for 14 days.
On Friday night, the Florida Department of Health said two people had died in the state from the coronavirus.
Eighteen state residents have tested positive for coronavirus. Out of those, 12 were diagnosed in the Sunshine State and five diagnosed elsewhere.
The coronavirus is already impacting the local economies. South Florida events, mainly Ultra and Calle Ocho have already been canceled.
The cruise line industry is likely to feel the impact after the U.S. State Department advised against travel on cruise ships on Sunday.
Those with underlying health concerns have been warned not to go on cruises.
Publix Supermarkets, with more than 800 stores throughout the state, began limiting sales of disinfecting products like hand sanitizers, face masks, and other products.
On Saturday, the governor ordered the Division of Emergency Management activated to level II to coordinate a statewide response to the coronavirus in the state.
“I have directed the Division of Emergency Management to activate to Level II to ensure our state has all the necessary resources engaged as we respond to COVID-19,” said Governor DeSantis. “It is critical that we proactively coordinate all state resources to mitigate the threat and contain COVID-19. I urge all Floridians to take necessary precautions and follow hygiene guidelines issued by the Surgeon General and Florida Department of Health.”
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Gov. DeSantis was joined by US Vice President Mike Pence and other state and federal officials, in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday afternoon, to address the impact of coronavirus on the cruise line industry.
For any questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-(866) 779-6121.