What to Know
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would activate the National Guard to help with a massive ramp-up in testing for the new coronavirus
- DeSantis also announced Friday that the state was purchasing kits that allow for testing up to 625,000 people
- So far, people have tested positive for COVID-19 in at least 20 counties in the state, most of them after traveling internationally or to other affected U.S. states
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would activate the National Guard to help with a massive ramp-up in testing for the new coronavirus.
DeSantis also announced Friday that the state was purchasing kits that allow for testing up to 625,000 people to get a better handle on where people were infected. About 40% of the kits have already been obtained.
So far, people have tested positive for COVID-19 in at least 20 counties in the state, most of them after traveling internationally or to other affected U.S. states. Two people have died.
“If we have National Guard support, they can help augment medical staff shortages, potentially expand resources and even potentially setting up field medical clinics if that were needed to be the case," DeSantis said at a news conference at a Health Department warehouse several miles from the state capitol.
DeSantis also suspended all visitations to nursing homes in Broward County, so far the worst-hit county. Earlier in the week, DeSantis had put restrictions on visits to the homes statewide from certain people who may have come into contact with the virus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.
The Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami had originally notified patrons via email they would continue with the weekend's performances of “Hamilton" and not issue refunds, unleashing criticism from one of the traveling actors, Jon Viktor Corpus, who called the approach “disgraceful" on Twitter.
In a follow-up email Friday, the center said it had decided to suspend shows and events through April 5.
Most face-to-face legal proceedings in the state courts will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks, said Florida Chief Justice Chalres Canady. Local judges are authorized to conduct them via video or electronic means whenever possible.
At supermarkets in Miami, people were stocking up on food and household supplies and finding empty shelves without eggs, poultry, toilet paper or paper towels.
In St. Petersburg, people trickled into an early voting site where Democrats cast ballots for their presidential candidate of choice. Poll workers wore gloves, kept “clean pens” in a small tray, and one election worker held the door open and closed so voters wouldn’t have to touch the handle.