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Governor DeSantis Talks COVID-19 at Collier County Department of Health

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Julie Glenn
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WGCU News
Gov. DeSantis briefs the media at Collier County DOH

Governor Ron De Santis was in Collier County this afternoon where he met with the local Department of Health for updates on Coronavirus.   Afterward, he briefed the media on the current situation of Coronavirus in the state

He specifically addressed the case of a patient in Sarasota who tested positive for the virus while in the hospital. So far, results of tests on five healthcare workers who were in contact with the man have come back negative. The man is recovering.

“There were five folks who were considered high risk to have acquired it, and who showed symptoms. All five of those have initially tested negative,” DeSantis said. Those five will be self-isolated for fourteen days and will continue to be tested.

DeSantis says he is requesting $25 million from the state legislature immediately to aid in response.

He said Florida expects at least $27 million from the federal government as well. The state received $500,000 earlier this week from the Department of Health and Human Services.

In Collier, DeSantis says he's been told there's need for more lab supplies, protective equipment, additional personnel- and more communication to the general public and healthcare workers.

The most urgent questions from the media were about the availability of testing kits. DeSantis says there are more on the way, but there hasn’t been a shortage.

“I know those kits are going to be here soon, and it’ll be good to have them.  But we have not been unable to test somebody due to not having equipment.”

As far as who is tested, The state is following CDC guidelines which require people meet certain thresholds of risk—travel, hospitalization and symptoms.  People can be tested privately, but that is not always covered by insurance.

DeSantis says the overall risk to the general public remains low. The elderly and people with underlying conditions remain most at risk, which is why, DeSantis says, the state has put out guidance to nursing home and group home facilities to restrict access.

DeSantis plans to meet with Vice President Mike Pence on March 7th on Florida’s east coast, where they will discuss Pence’s planned meeting with cruise line executives.