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Democratic leaders urging Gov. DeSantis to issue statewide stay-at-home, mask order

Posted at 11:44 AM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 11:46:21-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Multiple Democratic members of the Florida Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday, calling for the governor to issue a statewide stay-at-home order and mask order.

The letter comes out of frustrations with the Governor's response to the coronavirus pandemic in Florida.

Leaders are seeking immediate action after the state hit record high numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past week—including more than 15,000 positive cases, a nationwide record, this past Sunday.

The letter stated "by failing to reopen our state in the safe, smart, and step-by-step manner that you promised, and by ignoring CDC gating criteria, our state may be forced into a statewide economic shutdown, either by your order or simply because Floridians and visitors do not feel safe."

As of Friday morning, Florida has reported 327,241 positive COVID-19 cases, with 11,466 new cases overnight.

The state also reported 128 new deaths and a positivity rate of 11.85%.

“With positive test rates sky rocketing and the number of available ICU beds dwindling, implementing a stay-at-home order now is the best chance we have of preventing this crisis from spiraling further out of control,” leaders wrote.

The Democratic leaders also warned that if the state does not reclose, Florida’s “economy will contract and shutter on its own, needlessly subjecting Floridians to both lost jobs and wages, as well as preventable death and illness.”

As a further step towards immediate action, leaders are also recommending that the stay-at-home order be accompanied by building up testing capacity, contact tracing, and other tools to prevent further spread and the need for future stay-at-home orders in the weeks and months ahead.

The letter was signed by U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27), along with U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-24), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Al Lawson (FL-5), Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), Darren Soto (FL-9) and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26).