TAMPA, Fla. — Editor’s Note: Shortly before 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the governor's office released a memorandum announcing Governor Ron DeSantis was extending the declared "State of Emergency" through Executive Order 21-94.
Operating the federally supported vaccine sites without extra help from the National Guard or outside state nurses would be a logistical nightmare, according to local health officials.
“I don’t think we have enough people to run the site without help,” said Dr. Michael Teng.
According to the Florida Department of Health, most of the people working at the FEMA sites were deployed here because of Gov. Ron Desantis’ executive order. The extra help is the reason more than 27 percent of Floridians are fully vaccinated.
Recent data from health departments across the Bay area show a trend in vaccine numbers increasing every month.
Dr. Teng said that’s great news, but in order to get more people vaccinated, the governor must continue to extend his executive order.
“If he doesn’t, we will be in total chaos,” Dr. Teng said. “We are in a period where we have to do high-intensity vaccinations now.”
That means, according to Dr. Teng, more people need to go out into the community to reach people who “are home bound, and people in communities that don’t have vaccinations sites readily available to them.”
Aside from the federal help, Gov. Desantis’ executive order also allows county and local agencies to take additional precautions to protect people. For example, the mask mandates some cities, counties and even school districts imposed.
The mask mandate has been one of the most controversial regulations during this pandemic. Some parents, like christie Bruner, supports the mandate as long as the health officials recommend it.
“I want to make sure we’re following what the public health officials say is best,” she said. “I know right now the CDC and the local health department posted in their guidelines that it is still in our best interest.”
Other parents, like Michelle Stille said it should be a choice. She said the masks have had a negative impact on her children and their schooling.
“My daughter in the second grade says that she wants to stop living in a world of fear,” said Stille.
ABC Action News checked with local school districts and found out they all plan to finish this school year out with their current COVID-19 protocols and regulations, no matter what happens with the governor’s executive order.
The order will expire if he doesn’t sign it by midnight.