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Gov. DeSantis Encourages Elective Surgeries

Gov. Ron DeSantis at Lee Health's Gulf Coast Medical Center, Monday
Lee Health via Facebook Life
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

After lifting a moratorium on elective surgeries in Florida, last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news briefing with surgeons at Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, Monday, encouraging people who may fear seeking medical treatment to schedule their procedures. 

DeSantis struck an overall positive tone, noting that the rate of COVID-19 tests in the state coming back positive for the virus has been trending downward. “Today the state of Florida is reporting 405 new cases for Florida residents, but we’ve received about 20,000 test results and that’s about a 2.12% positivity rate,” said DeSantis.

“For May, we have not had one day where the new cases were more than 5%. It’s ranged from 1.87% to 4.83% and that’s been a pretty consistent trend, I think, over the last two weeks.”

Lee Health President and CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci spoke at the media briefing.  He said before the pandemic, Lee Health physicians were performing about 300 procedures a week.  Since elective surgeries began again last week, they’ve only been doing about 40 to 50% as many.

“We know there are patients out there who need surgery.  These are necessary surgeries, although they may be elective,” said Antonucci.

“And we want to ensure the community that it is safe to come in to have these procedures.  It is safe to come to our emergency rooms if you’re having symptoms that require emergency care.”

Citing activity at the state’s mobile testing site at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, DeSantis encouraged more people to visit testing sites around the state, saying they can now accommodate more people than the number that are showing up each day.

“The average for the one in Lee County has been 244 people.  That can accommodate 750 a day, no problem,” said DeSantis.

“So if people want to be tested, this is certainly one avenue you can go and we encourage people to want to come out and be tested.”

He touted Florida’s mobile RV coronavirus testing lab, saying the state may add another.  The governor also expressed concerns over a decline in immunizations for children as well. “The Surgeon General of Florida is a pediatrician.  It’s something that he will bring to my attention often because we have seen measles outbreaks in different parts of the country just before all this started,” said DeSantis. “So, if you’re not keeping up on that, that’s a problem.”

DeSantis urged parents to follow their child’s recommended immunization schedule.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

John Davis has been a full-time Reporter/Producer for WGCU since 2009. He is the local host for NPRââââ