Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Wednesday issued a “stay at home” order across the state to fight the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.
“I’m gonna be doing an executive order today directing all Floridians to limit movements and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or to conduct essential activities,” DeSantis said in a press conference in Tallahassee.
Essential activities including purchasing items from the grocery store, visting clinics and hospitals, and traveling to and from daycare facilities. The directive will begin Thursday at midnight and remain in effect for 30 days.
DeSantis told reporters that President Donald Trump expressed support the measure.
“I did speak with the president about it,” he stated. “He agreed with the approach of focusing on the hot spots. But at the same time, he understood that this is another 30-day situation and you gotta just do what makes the most sense.”
As of Wednesday, there are nearly 7,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida and 87 deaths, according to data via John Hopkins University. 59,000 people have tested negative for the illness, reports WPTV.
DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order Monday for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and the Florida Keys, last week ordered anyone arriving from the New York area and Louisiana into quarantine, and issued some statewide measures such as closing bars and gyms and limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery.
Counties in the Tampa Bay area and central Florida issued their own lockdown orders, and Jacksonville announced Wednesday that it would join them on Friday.
The highly contagious virus that causes COVID-19 generally brings on mild or no symptoms, but it can cause serious illness, especially among older people.
A University of Washington model is projecting that Florida could see a rapid increase in deaths and hospitalizations, with 100 people dying daily by mid-April and more than 175 by May 1, when the number nears its peak. It predicts that 10,000 people will need hospital care by mid-month and 20,000 on May 1. The model predicts that more than 6,500 Floridians will die from the virus by June 1, among more than 90,000 deaths nationally.
The AP contributed to this report.