SARASOTA, Fla. – Announcing that a record level of people tested in Florida on Monday (more than 23,000) with the lowest ever percentage of positive tests (2.3%), Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his victory tour of the state.
“Florida has met all the criteria to meet the phase one,” DeSantis said about his decision to allow business and restaurant dining rooms to begin reopening. as he visited a COVID-19 testing site in Sarasota.
Press the play button above to watch the governor’s news conference.
As of Tuesday morning, the state’s Department of Health reported 37,439 COVID-19 cases confirmed with 1,471 deaths.
DeSantis on Tuesday said the state would begin offering antibody tests later this week at the state’s drive-thru sites, including Lot J at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
He also said the state will announce Wednesday a first-ever mobile testing site -- a recreational vehicle outfitted with a lab that can deliver 45-minute rapid tests. DeSantis said the RV would visit long-term care facilities and other high-risk populations that have trouble getting to other testing sites.
Even though the capacity for testing now exceeds demand in Florida, the number of sites will continue to grow with the goal to deliver 40,000 tests every day.
Many hair and nail salon owners were hoping to hear that DeSantis announce when their businesses could also begin a limited reopening, but that didn’t happen Tuesday.
When the governor met with some of those business owners in Orlando last weekend, they begged him to let them reopen and promised they could do so safely with new protocols like only allowing one customer in at a time, using disposable capes and requiring employees and customers to wear masks.
At that time, DeSantis urged patience, saying he was also eager for a haircut and to see sporting events and restaurants bustling with people, but cautioned it will take time.
“I think at the end of the day, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” Desantis said Saturday. “We just want to be judicious, consult with medical folks and make sure it’s safety first.”