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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces 'Safer At Home' order

Common set of rules urges people to stay home until mid-April
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Posted at 9:45 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 14:25:14-04

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Stay at home, stay safe.

That was the message from Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday when he announced the "Safer At Home" executive order, which encourages people to stay inside and practice social distancing to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The common set of rules, which urge people to stay home as much as possible until the middle of April, apply to Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties.

"It gets all four counties operating under the same sheet of music," DeSantis said during a news conference at Hard Rock Stadium.

DeSantis added that 60 percent of COVID-19 cases in the state are in southeast Florida.

"We want to win the fight againt COVID-19," the governor said. "We're going guns blazing, doing all that we can, to slow the spread of COVID-19."

WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE:

FULL NEWS CONFERENCE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces 'Safer At Home' order for southeast Florida

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are more than 5,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, along with 63 deaths.

It should be noted that more than 44,000 people in Florida have tested negative for the virus.

Here is a county-by-county breakdown of local cases:

  • Miami-Dade County: 1,632
  • Broward County: 1,152
  • Palm Beach County: 423
  • St. Lucie County: 29
  • Martin County: 27
  • Indian River County: 24
  • Monroe County: 24
  • Okeechobee County: 0

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | We're Open South Florida

The governor, who announced the birth of his third child on Monday, also announced a new plan to add additional manpower to the fight against COVID-19.

Effectively immediately, retired law enforcement and health care personnel can return to the workforce.

"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."

In addition, the governor said Florida has obtained more than 2,000 rapid COVID-19 tests, which can provide results in 45 minutes.

A total of 1,750 testing kits will go to the Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County, and 500 will go to 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," the governor said.

RELATED: President Trump extends social distancing guidelines to April 30

A drive-through mobile testing site is scheduled to open on Tuesday at the FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach.

As a result, Palm Beach County county leaders said they're bracing for a rise in the number of positive coronavirus cases in the county.

"That is actually a good thing, because now we will begin to know our real numbers," said Dr. Alina Alonso, the health director of Palm Beach County, at a news conference on Sunday.

The drive-through testing at the FITTEAM Ballpark will be by appointment only.

You can make an appointment by calling 561-642-1000 on Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A staff member will screen you over the phone, asking about your symptoms, whether you've traveled recently, or if you've come in contact with anyone who has COVID-19.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you'll be given a time to go to the ballpark for your testing appointment.

For the latest information about coronavirus cases in Florida, click here.