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More questions than answers: Gov. DeSantis remains silent on number of people tested for coronavirus

Posted at 11:38 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 12:02:58-05

As the world remains on edge in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Ron DeSantis assured the public on Thursday not to worry.

"There are still no cases of coronavirus in Florida," Gov. DeSantis said.

However, Gov. DeSantis did not appear to be transparent about any real information regarding how many Floridians have been tested for the disease.

"I don't think I'm allowed to go into the numbers," he said during Thursday's press conference.

"I actually wanted to give all the numbers but they pointed me to the regulation and the statute that said you can't list all the numbers," Gov. DeSantis explained.

RELATED: Gov. Ron DeSantis: No coronavirus cases in Florida

ABC Action News looked into that statute and many lawmakers say the state is misinterpreting the law since there are exemptions that clearly state information should be made public only when necessary to the public's health.

"It doesn't make any sense to me when the statute clearly says that if people could be at risk, then you should inform them. Essentially, that's the essence of it," said Congressman Charlie Crist.

Crist also believes the state's lack of transparency seems to be more focused on protecting tourism than protecting the people of Florida.

"It's troubling," he said. "If you're trying to protect an industry and you do so with a potentially lethal situation, how you do explain that? How do you justify that? Money over people? What's that about?"


ABC Action News Anchor Wendy Ryan has spent months trying to get answers from the state -- about your right to know important health information that could save your life -- especially when it comes to epidemics like hepatitis A and now, the novel coronavirus.

Even though we know the CDC tested 445 people in the United States for the coronavirus, we still don't know if any came from the Sunshine State.

Gov. DeSantis wouldn't even say where possible cases are suspected and where patients are being monitored.

"Please note that we strictly respect the confidentiality of individuals who are either persons under investigation or those individuals who are under self isolation having returned from China. That is what is required by Florida law," Gov. DeSantis said.

Several Democratic Senators are now calling for a release of those testing stats to better protect the public. If that doesn't happen, they're threatening to file Legislation on Monday to change the law and get the information themselves.