Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed Floridians Thursday evening to provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and the tropical storm rapidly approaching the state from the Caribbean Sea.
Speaking in a live address from the Cabinet meeting room, DeSantis first urged Floridians to ready their supplies and polish their emergency plans ahead of Tropical Storm Isaias’s looming landfall.
“While we can’t be certain of the exact track of the storm and we certainly can’t be sure about the intensity it will ultimately reach, we do expect to see impacts to the state of Florida even if the storm remains off our shore,” DeSantis said.
As of 5 p.m., the National Hurricane Center reported that the tropical system was roughly 250 miles west-northwest of the Dominican Republic and producing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Forecasters also warned that the storm may develop into a hurricane late Friday.
On the other front, DeSantis unveiled a new slogan and a more tender approach in his address to Floridians on the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeSantis reintroduced his COVID-19 state guidelines and recovery plans, such as reopening schools, with a more unifying and patriotic tone.
“We have one goal,” DeSantis said. “We are one Florida.”
The Governor also told the story of U.S. Air Force veteran Clyde Finch, an 88-year-old Korean War veteran with existing health conditions who overcame a 29-day hospitalization with the novel coronavirus.
“Mr. Finch not only beat it,” DeSantis said. “He is doing well and will be celebrating his 89th birthday in 16 days. And just like Mr. Finch, we too must stay in the fight and stay strong for we have one goal and we are one Florida.”
The Governor’s message of unity and hope on both fronts comes after state health officials reported a rise in deaths but a decline in new COVID-19 cases.
As of the latest update, 253 more residents were declared dead from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period. Notably, state health officials also reported a decline in COVID-19 cases. For all of Wednesday, 9,943 residents tested positive.
DeSantis also cited other positive trends such as falling emergency room visits and COVID-19 hospitalizations. He urged Floridians to “press forward” just like Clyde Finch.
“We’ll fight with hope and optimism and we will emerge stronger as a result of it,” DeSantis said. “We must stay strong. We must not fear for we will succeed.”