State eyes hotels to house people with coronavirus

Ron DeSantis said hotel owners have offered to allow the use of their facilities.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that state officials are looking at the possibility of putting people who test positive for the coronavirus in facilities such as hotels to help prevent them from spreading the virus to family members.

The idea, which also could involve using facilities such as convention centers, would be to help isolate people who have the virus but don’t need hospitalization. DeSantis said hotel owners have offered to allow the use of their facilities.

“The reason why you would want to do that is if somebody comes in, tests positive, if you send them back home they’re likely to infect the people that they come in close contact within their home, so then the virus continues to spread,” DeSantis said during a news conference at the state Emergency Operations Center. “If they have a place to self-isolate where they’re not going to be in close contact with anybody, then the virus dies with them.”

DeSantis emphasized that the highly contagious respiratory disease spreads mostly through personal contact.

“I think the plan would be, if you have somebody that presents but doesn’t require hospitalization, you test them, you have them be isolated in a convention center, hotel, don’t go back home with your family, because the people you are most likely to affect are those very close, persistent contacts. … If you are inside sharing a house with somebody, those are obviously the ones,” he said. “So, yeah, we’re absolutely considering that. Hopefully, it doesn’t get to that, but we’re planning for that for sure, because I think that that’s the prudent thing to do.”

The number of cases of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, continues to rapidly increase, with the Florida Department of Health website listing 763 cases in the state as of early Saturday evening. That included 706 Florida residents and 57 non-residents. DeSantis said 12 Florida residents had died.

As an example of how fast the number of cases is increasing, the Department of Health on Friday morning reported 520 confirmed cases.

The heaviest concentration of cases has been in South Florida, with Miami-Dade County leading the state with 169 cases as of Saturday evening, according to the Department of Health website. Broward County had 164 cases and Palm Beach County had 56 cases.

The coronavirus is particularly dangerous to seniors and people with underlying medical conditions. But DeSantis also said during the Saturday news conference that about 60 percent of the confirmed cases involve people under age 60.

“There’s not necessarily high rates of fatalities with that, but some people have really had some serious health consequences as a result of it,” he said. “So it’s just something people need to understand that it is the elderly are obviously … most vulnerable to this, but it’s something that could affect anybody.”


Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Jim Saunders

Jim has been executive editor of the News Service since 2013 and has covered state government and politics in Florida since 1998. Jim came to the News Service in 2011 after stints as Tallahassee bureau chief for The Florida Times-Union, The Daytona Beach News-Journal and Health News Florida. He moved to Florida in 1990 and worked eight years for the Times-Union in Jacksonville and St. Johns County. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he graduated from Northwestern University and worked at The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio, before moving to the Times-Union. Jim enjoys covering legal and regulatory issues and has extensive experience in covering health care.


  • John Kociuba

    March 21, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Constitutional God Given Rights


    “National Emergency?” What is that? Lmao! “National Defense Authorization Act?” Sorry Charlie! CODIFIED LAW NOT ONE WORD WITHSTANDING!

    Yes. During this time voluntary isolation absent zero fines or force and expressed cooperation by business leaders is perfectly Constitutional and will massively reduce spread of COVID 19 which by the law of large numbers is still peanuts.

  • Marlene

    March 21, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    I vote for Mar-a-Lago with no compensation to The Orange Bloviator. He should donate his properties to help mitigate the disaster he caused with his ignorance, incompetence and hubris.

  • Thomas Knapp

    March 21, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Trump is to blame for a lot of things.

    Neither the COVID-19 virus nor the irrational panic over that virus are among those things, although caving to the latter is.

  • Marlene

    March 21, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    He is 100% percent to blame. By putting his personal political interests ahead of the country’s interests he has put us behind the 8 ball now. The virus is no longer containable. The majority of Americans will inevitably contract it now. All we can do now is make sure that the health care industry has the ability to treat the sick and maybe save some lives.

Comments are closed.


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