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Gov. DeSantis Asks Seniors To Stay Home, Says New York Area Travelers Must Report Contacts

In a Tuesday press conference, DeSantis said seniors and those with underlying medical conditions are encouraged to stay home for the next 14 days.
In a Tuesday press conference, DeSantis said seniors and those with underlying medical conditions are encouraged to stay home for the next 14 days.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said that Florida's Surgeon General Scott Rivkees will be issuing a new health advisory in response to the coronavirus.

People 65 and older, and anyone with underlying medical conditions, will be asked to stay at home for the next 14 days to minimize their exposure to COVID-19.

DeSantis said seniors have the best chance of a negative health impact if they choose not to self-quarantine.

"The message for us from the beginning has been that if you are in that category, avoid crowds, avoid close contact,” he said. “You should assume that anyone you may come in contact with could be infected and so make sure you keep that safe, appropriate six-foot distance or more. Obviously the easiest way to do that is to simply stay at home as much as possible."

The serious conditions include such things as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity and people in cancer treatment.

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage from WUSF And Health News Florida

DeSantis is also expanding his directive requiring travelers flying into the state from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-isolate to now include people who arrived in the last three weeks.

During Tuesday's press conference, DeSantis said he will sign an order requiring travelers to self-isolate and report the contacts they've had with anyone in Florida. That information will then be shared with local communities.

On Monday, DeSantis said members of the Florida National Guard would be deployed at the international airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale to gather information from visitors coming off flights from the Tri-State area.

DeSantis also said screening measures will likely be expanded to other airports in Florida.

"I think most folks understand that they need to do this,” he said. “And I think most folks are going to be compliant but there is teeth in this -- to be able to hold someone accountable if they don't."

DeSantis called the move necessary after New York state issued a shelter-in-place order last week. He said after the lockdown, flights to Florida became "the hottest ticket in town."

DeSantis also said that daily claims to the state’s reemployment assistance system have jumped from what could be 250, 500, or 1,000 a day to between 18,000 and 21,000 a day.

“This is a huge increase, and it just shows you how so many people have been dislocated,” he said. “We’re working on getting them the relief. We want the federal government to do stuff as well. But man, that’s not only going to have an economic cost but a health cost unless we work hard to remedy that as soon as possible.”

Imposed closings have come down hard on bars, restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and vacation destinations such as Key West.

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