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Gov. DeSantis wants to postpone mass gatherings due to coronavirus

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Posted at 1:29 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 13:29:14-04

MIAMI — Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Florida by postponing or limiting mass gatherings.

The governor made that recommendation on Thursday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Coronavirus in Florida: COVID-19 cases, locations and updates across the Sunshine State

Gov. DeSantis said his main priorities in fighting the spread of the virus are to protect the most vulnerable residents, which are the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, purchase more coronavirus test kits, protect health care workers, monitor international and high-risk travel, and social distancing.

"I am recommending local municipalities and private entities to strongly consider limiting or postponing mass gatherings in the state of Florida," the governor said. "This is an opportunity, our health officials believe, where some of these large-scale events can be postponed and do it later."

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF CORONAVIRUS

In addition, the governor is suspending all official travel for state employees for at least 30 days.

DeSantis said Florida is purchasing 2,500 more coronavirus testing kits.

"We're receiving those this weekend, and the testing kits will give qualified labs throughout the state the capacity to process tests for up to 625,000 indivduals," said Gov. DeSantis, adding that the kits will be given to 50 labs and hospitals throughout Florida.

Coronavirus closings and cancellations in the Tampa Bay area

According to the Florida Department of Health, 31 Florida residents have tested positive for coronavirus, or COVID-19, and two have died. Of those, 26 are in the state and five are self-isolating in other states.

Health officials said a passenger infected with the virus arrived at Palm Beach International Airport Wednesday night aboard a JetBlue flight from New York.

That patient has been isolated, according to the Florida Department of Health.

CORONAVIRUS TRACKER

In addition, people who were near that passenger are being told to self-monitor for any symptoms, and remaining passengers were released from the plane and given directions to call the health department with any concerns.

Gov. DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Florida on Monday, meaning extra out-of-state medical personnel will be available to help, if needed.

In addition, the state of emergency allows Florida to receive federal funding to purchase things like masks and medical supplies to set up field hospitals.

This story was originally published for WPTV