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DeSantis Defends Coronavirus Response, Says Florida Taking 'Step-By-Step' Approach

Governor Ron DeSantis said everyone at the bill signing was wearing a mask because 6 feet of social distancing was not possible.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday the state will be moving forward carefully and encouraged Floridians to continue following social distancing guidelines while coronavirus cases spike.

“We are where we are. I didn’t say we’re going to go on to the next phase,” DeSantis said during a bill signing in Tampa. “We’ve done a step-by-step approach and it was an approach that’s been reflective of the unique situation of each area.”

He urged Floridians to avoid big crowds and indoor locations, where poor ventilation can increase the chance of getting the disease.

“Outdoors in Florida is better than the air conditioning. In terms of the virus, there's just no doubt about it,” DeSantis said.

He attributed most of the outbreaks to multi-generational homes and long-term care facilities.

Citing the high mortality rate and large amount of at-risk people, DeSantis said these facilities will not be opening up to the public anytime soon.

“Had we continued on our May and early June course, and I thought that the disease prevalence was low enough, we may have moved quicker to do it,” he said. “But I want to see the positivity rate go down before we start.”

The Florida Department of Health reported Thursday that 5,004 people tested positive for coronavirus in the state, the second highest total ever reported and continuing a trend of increasing cases.

DeSantis also announced the state will help open a COVID-19 testing site at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

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Alysia Cruz is the WUSF Stephen Noble news intern for the fall 2019 semester. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida in Communication and is now enrolled at USF St. Petersburg, pursuing her Master’s in Digital Journalism & Design concentrating on food writing.