Coronavirus Evening Update: DeSantis Announces Statewide Plateau As Cases Eclipse 20,000

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Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a press conference Monday that new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Florida have plateaued over the past 10 days, according to a recent state model.

Accompanying him, Surgeon General Scott Rivkees warned, “We are at a plateau situation, but can not emphasize enough that we cannot let our guard down at this present time.”

Rivkees reiterated the five-point plan Florida has enforced to combat the virus:

  • Social distancing
  • Testing expansion and contact tracing
  • Protecting the “vulnerable,” including the elderly population
  • Preparing hospitals for the surge
  • Preventing virus introduction to the state via travel bans

The elderly account for 30% of hospitalizations and nearly 60% of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in Florida, Rivkees said. Over the weekend, total cases climbed over 20,000 while infections just in long-term care facilities neared 1,000.

Today, in response, DeSantis ramped up testing in nursing homes and similar care facilities. He mobilized 10 four-member “strike teams,” headed by the Florida National Guard, to be deployed first to South Florida counties.

Testing criteria was broadened Monday to include people of all age groups, all first responders and anyone who had sustained contact with someone with a confirmed case, even if they are asymptomatic.  All residents and associated staff of assisted living facilities will now qualify.

Antibodies tests are also on the horizon for Florida, DeSantis said. The FDA-approved tests retroactively reveal if a person has contracted the virus  — even asymptomatically — by identifying the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in the blood.

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates by the Florida Department of Health, as of Monday evening:

  • 21,019 total cases in Florida
  • 2,841 hospitalizations in Florida
  • 499 deaths in Florida

Alachua County:

  • 187 total cases
  • 25 hospitalizations
  • Zero deaths

While Alachua County has a higher number of cases, coronavirus-related deaths are higher in the surrounding counties. Clay County has had 9 deaths. Marion County has had 3 deaths.

Find the full FDOH coronavirus dashboard here.

About Gabriella Paul

Gabriella Paul is a reporter for WUFT. She can be reached at gabbympaul@ufl.edu.

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