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Democrats call for more testing before reopening Florida

Coronavirus

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News) – Governor Ron DeSantis’ reopening task force met for the first time Monday to discuss short term ways to relax some measures put in place due to the coronavirus.

Going forward, the task force will also look at reopening plans for the medium and longterm.

“We want to see people back to work for the long haul and we want to continue with Florida’s economic development strategy,” said DeSantis.

The task force is comprised of business leaders, lawmakers, local officials and more, but Florida Democrats on a video conference Monday said the opinion that holds the most weight is that of public health officials.

Dr. Brent Schillinger, Former President of the Palm Beach County Medical Society warned the Governor to not move too fast and potentially create a second wave of infections.

“If we lift the restrictions too soon we’re likely to see a huge influx of cases here,” said Schillinger.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo argued testing needs to be dramatically increased before reopening is considered.

“While I think it’s important to start thinking about how to safely reopen our state and our country we can only do it by solving the health crisis first. Trump and DeSantis are putting the stock market first, not the health and safety of our people,” said Rizzo.

Specifically, Rizzo said 500,000 tests should be conducted a day nationwide to reopen the country.

That number currently stands at 145,000 tests a day.

Gov. DeSantis said Saturday he will assemble a separate task force, specifically to look at ways of scaling up testing.

“We’ll definitely have an agreement with some lab to do high-throughput within the coming days and then we very well may see our state labs beefed up,” said DeSantis.

But Democrats like State Senator Lori Berman argue until those testing capabilities are actually implemented, it’s too soon to reopen.

“Saying that the curve is flattening and we can start lifting restrictions is like saying the parachute has slowed our rate of decent and now we can take it off,” said Berman.

Gov. DeSantis has said he has no intention of loosening restrictions on nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

If anything, he said restrictions might actually be tightened to protect the high risk populations.

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