TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Tampa on Monday to give a coronavirus update and praised local leaders for how they’ve handled the pandemic.
“Of any major county, (Hillsborough) is one of the best-performing counties, not just in the State of Florida but probably in the country,” the governor said.
DeSantis provided his daily coronavirus update from Tampa General Hospital, alongside medical professionals from the hospital and the USF Health system.
According to the governor, the total number of people hospitalized for coronavirus in Hillsborough County was 35 as of Sunday night.
DeSantis said Florida also received praise from members of the White House coronavirus task force. The governor noted that he spoke with Dr. Deborah Birx, who has been vocal about appreciating the Florida Department of Health and the data it puts out.
“She complimented Florida on…you don’t see massive disparities on racial or ethnic grounds in Florida,” the governor said. “Some of these areas it’s just overwhelmingly out of whack.”
Moving forward, DeSantis said Floridians should be able to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” when it comes to the pandemic. He did warn, however, that reopening and returning to life as normal would not be immediate.
“It’s not going to be something that a switch is going to be flipped. This is going to be slow and steady wins the race,” he said. “It’s going to be very methodical, it’s going to be data-driven. There are probably going to be some people that think it’s too slow and I get that. But the country has never gone through anything like this…this is unchartered territory.”
Officials with Tampa General and USF also voiced their confidence with Florida’s response to coronavirus.
John Couris, the president of Tampa General, announced the hospital will be ready to start performing elective procedures again starting May 11.
“We are really proud of where Florida is…the state has been remarkably unaffected,” USF Senior Vice President Dr. Charles Lockwood added. “I’m particularly proud of my county, Hillsborough County – although Pinellas County is a close second.”
Dr. Lockwood said we are in a good position to reopen the economy. He noted that the focus now would shift from mitigating the virus to containing it.
“There will be outbreaks and there will be flares but it will allow us to a more normal state,” he said.