Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is glad the media predictions about COVID-19 cases and deaths in Florida are wrong.
“You go back a month, month and a half we heard report after report saying it was just a matter of time until Florida’s hospital system was completely overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients,”DeSantis said at an April 21st press conference.
“In fact, there was an article in March in the Miami Herald that said, ‘this week in April, Florida could see 465,000 people hospitalized throughout the State of Florida.’
“The reality: Slightly more than 2,000,” he said. “Those predictions have been false, our work has been succeeding. We have flattened the curve.”
He said available hospital beds have increased starting with 1,500 beds available in March and now the State has 22,000 with an increase in ICU bed availability.
“So those predictions were made time, and time, and time again and they were wrong,” DeSantis said and added, “What we have done has worked,” as he pointed to empty hospitals and medical staff getting laid off.
DeSantis said Florida “planned for the worst” as it set up field hospitals, got the Army Corps of Engineers involved and that he is thankful that those field hospitals sit empty.
He thanked Florida residents for “getting that done” through following stay-at-home orders and following social distancing rules.
DeSantis said the expanded testing, which totals 280,000, has contributed to a lowering rate of positivity.
While some states have 30 percent positivity, DeSantis said Florida is at 10 percent or less because of some patients being tested more than once.
“We’ve done way more tests,” DeSantis said than other states. “Bringing testing to the people, supported eight drive-thru sites that did 60,000 tests.”
DeSantis said taking care of the assisted facility and nursing home residents and staff was a priority because of Florida’s age demographic.
He has directed the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) to get its labs outfitted with machines.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we had our own machines in all of these labs that could do thousands and thousands of tests a day?” he asked.
DeSantis said Florida will move forward with antibody testing and that the FDOH is “speaking with the CEO of a company that has an FDA approved test.”
He credited the University of Miami for working with Miami/Dade County serology tests and random testing to represent the population as a whole and commended them for what they are doing to show how antibodies might be prevalent in some parts of the state.
The governor said he continues to push for personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, masks, face masks and gloves and the state continues to monitor incoming travelers from New York City and New Orleans.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator has taken note of Florida’s actions and transparency via the COVID-19 Dashboard updated twice a day by the FDOH. She mentioned how she looks at that data during a coronavirus briefing on April 20th.
The Gov. DeSantis said that Florida is “On a positive course here,” and directed viewers to stay informed by texting FLCOVID19 text to 888777 for updates.
“I wish it never happened,” he said about the pandemic. “But sometimes you rise to the occasion and I think the people of Florida have done that, and I thank them for that.”