TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he will sign an executive order that allows hospitals and law enforcement agencies to bring back recently retired workers to assist in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
DeSantis announced the decision in a press conference at the Hard Rock Stadium, one of Miami-Dade County’s coronavirus testing sites. Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Broward County Mayor Dale Holness, Palm Beach County Mayor David Kerner and Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers were also in attendance.
“Current law in Florida prohibits personnel that retires from the state workforce from returning to work for six months from the date of retirement,” DeSantis said. “I will suspend that prohibition.”
Florida has thus far confirmed more than 5,000 cases of coronavirus and 63 deaths.
According to DeSantis, Miami-Dade has almost a third of Florida’s coronavirus cases.
The governor said he plans to sign a “Safer at Home” executive order that would ensure the most densely populated part of the state is “operating under the same sheet of music.” The order would affect Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties.
“We’re going guns blazing doing all that we can to slow the spread of COVID-19,” DeSantis said.
The governor said Florida has obtained more than 2,000 rapid COVID-19 tests with a detection time of 45 minutes. The tests will go to hospitals in Broward County and North Florida.
“We’ve asked for a lot of those tests, and as soon as we get them, we will deploy them strategically in the fight against COVID-19,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis also said passengers on the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships cannot be dumped in his state.
“First of all, I’m not supportive of that,” DeSantis said. “We’ve talked to the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard, I don’t think wants them to come in. We’ve talked to the White House about it, and we don’t want it to come in.”
The cruises, which are carrying more than 1,800 passengers and crew are currently stranded off the coast of Panama. Four people aboard the Zaandam have died and at least two had tested positive for COVD-19. The ships were hoping to dock in Port Everglades.
“They need to get medical care out on the ship, and they can work with the folks in D.C. or whoever to get out there and administer the care to folks there. That averts what could potentially be a big, big problem,” DeSantis said. “We have enough to deal with with our folks in Florida. We’ve got almost 22 million people. Just this area is heavily populated. Having people from other states flee to here, having a cruise ship come in, it creates problems and we want to focus on Floridians.
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