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Florida Coronavirus Update: Gov. Ron DeSantis 'In No Rush' To Lift Restrictions, State Will Reopen In Phases

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Governor Ron DeSantis held a Saturday morning press conference from the Florida Cleveland Clinic in Weston to update Floridians on the latest on the state's response to COVID-19.

"If you look at the hospitalizations, we are in at the lowest number of cases seen in the ICU statewide today. Just last week, the average positivity rate for new individuals was about 7.5 percent. That's a good sign that things are going in the right direction," said DeSantis.

DeSantis also said he is in no rush to lift restrictions on Florida's businesses shut down due on his executive order which is set to expire Thursday. But he's also seeking guidance from the Re-Open Florida Task Force, which is expected to submit recommendations to him in the next week.

"If you look at that Phase One that the President has laid out, it's not terribly different from what we're doing now," he said at Saturday's press conference. However, he drew some clear lines between his preferred approach and the White House's plan, which includes guidance on social distancing in restaurants, theaters and sports venues.

"We're not doing in-person sports yet no matter what," DeSantis said. "That's just not going to happen in May. Another thing in Phase One, they say movie theaters with social distance. I'm not there yet on the movie theaters. It's an enclosed environment. You're much better off being outdoors."

Governor DeSantis also spoke about how National Guard strike teams made up of four people have been going to nursing homes throughout the state to test residents and staff at these facilities.

Watch what Governor DeSantis had to say:


DeSantis explained that the state has seen the lowest rate of hospitalizations yet.

He said this is hopeful news and that he sees this as evidence of the flattening of the curve when it comes to the virus.

He also mentioned that antibody tests that the state ordered are due on May 1.

DeSantis said "millions of masks" have been sent to nursing homes throughout the state to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the most vulnerable.

The governor also answered various questions about people eventually returning to work and returning to normalcy. At this point, he has not given a date or clear set guidelines on that yet.

He did emphasize with doctors that social distancing will continue to be important.

He reminded Floridians that if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, to go ahead and stay at home.

"With the increase of testing at nursing homes and walk-up sites, more positive results are expected, but the rate is going down," the governor said.

The Governor also said the state's hospital capacity is at about 40 percent and we are in good shape.

The Governor was joined by Cleveland Clinic Florida CEO Dr. Wael Barsoum and others to discuss testing, treatment, and other measures taken to maintain residents from getting infected by the virus.

"There is a tremendous amount of hope going forward. We have learned a lot about this disease," said Dr. Barsoum.

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