Florida Airport Has Virus Numbers Contradicting Governor

Orlando Airport CEO speaks out after Gov. Ron DeSantis remarked on COVID-19 cases

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Officials at Florida's busiest airport said Wednesday that only two workers out of 500 employees tested positive for COVID-19 over three days last week, and 132 employees overall have had the virus since the pandemic began, contradicting remarks Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis made the day before.

DeSantis said at a news conference on Tuesday, while talking about outbreaks around the state in the past week, that an airport in central Florida — which he didn't identify — had tested 500 workers and that 260 cases had come back positive.

“52% positivity rate on that one," DeSantis said.

But Phil Brown, CEO of Orlando International Airport, said in a statement Wednesday that last week's rate of positive cases from the 500 workers tested last week was only 0.4%. His statement was issued to clear up “what can be a confusing mix of data for the traveling public," he said.

Since mid-March, 132 workers for the airlines, the car rental companies, the Transportation Security Administration and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority at the airport have tested positive for the new coronavirus. Another 128 people who tested positive didn't work at the airport but had traceable connections to the 132 workers at the airport, Brown said.

“To put it in perspective, the 132 airport employees represent 0.6% of the estimated 22,000 badged employees that work at (the airport) and those infections occurred over a period of roughly 2.5 months," Brown said.

Florida has more than 82,700 coronavirus cases, including more than 3,000 related deaths.

The governor's office on Wednesday issued a statement confirming the numbers put out by the airport. The state Department of Health on Tuesday had “erred in providing that information which should have been presented more clearly," according to the governor's office.


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