Ron DeSantis blocks visitors at Broward nursing homes
The boxes of the novel coronavirus tests. The actual kits are not inside.

COVID-19 tests-page-0
Many, but not all of the cases in Broward County, are tied to Port Everglades.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he is barring all visitors to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes and long-term care homes in Broward County for 30 days after several more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

On Wednesday, he ordered visitation restrictions on nursing homes and other elder facilities to help protect older residents who are most at-risk from the disease.

DeSantis, who spoke at a Florida Department of Health warehouse in Tallahassee, added that the state has received another 1,000 test kits, from 2,500 they recently ordered.

Late Wednesday, DeSantis suspended visitations at prisons.

The state now has 11 cases of novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in Broward County. Of the cases so far in Broward, many, but not, all are tied to Port Everglades, making it the largest cluster of the highly contagious disease in the state. Of the new Broward cases announced, one was a 28-year-old woman who had no stated travel history or connection to the bustling port, which has become a hot spot for the novel coronavirus.

So far, there’s 45 Florida residents who have tested positive for novel coronavirus. The Florida Department of Health announced yesterday that 16 more people had tested positive for the disease. Two people in the state have died of the coronavirus and 365 people are currently being monitored.

DeSantis says currently the state is testing up to 300 samples a day at three state labs. But officials hope to add 50 private labs to start testing up to 100 samples a day.

He says anyone who is exhibiting symptoms including fever, cough or difficulty breathing, can get tested. 

“We’ve had capacity to meet the folks who have been referred up to this point,” DeSantis said.

The test kits are going to laboratories and hospitals in areas starting with the highest need, starting with Broward County, based on its increased number of cases. 

DeSantis says he’s suspending official travel for all state employees for 30 days and is recommending large events be canceled in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. The Centers for Disease and Prevention defines “mass gatherings” as crowds larger than 1,000 people. The Governor’s recommendation also comes the same day President Donald Trump told pool reporters an unannounced March 25 rally in Tampa is “all sold out.”

Sarah Mueller

Sarah Mueller has extensive experience covering public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010. She began her career covering local government in Texas, Georgia and Colorado. She returned to school in 2016 to earn a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting. Since then, she’s worked in public radio covering state politics in Illinois, Florida and Delaware. If you'd like to contact her, send an email to [email protected].


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