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Gov. Ron DeSantis says he won't require Floridians to wear masks under law

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 16, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — On the day of Florida's largest single-day case increase thus far, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Tallahassee on Tuesday to provide an explanation for the recent spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the state.

DeSantis heavily attributed the steady increase in testing to increased testing around the state overall. According to DeSantis, testing in Florida includes state and non-state supported sites like drive-thrus, walk-ups, hospitals, retailers and other methods.

As testing expands, DeSantis said health officials are also going into "high-risk" environments like farms, jails, prisons and long-term care facilities to conduct more testing, thereby leading to an increase in cases.

To go along with that, the governor announced that all employees at long-term care facilities will be tested every two weeks for the coronavirus.

DeSantis said he had no plans to roll back any of the loosened restrictions now in effect.

"To suppress a lot of working-age people at this point, I don't think would likely be very effective," DeSantis said.

He also said that he would not be mandating that residents wear masks but did encourage Floridians to use them when social distancing isn't possible.

"In terms of forcing that under penalty of criminal law, we're not going to be doing that. I think it would be applied unevenly and I just don't think it would end up working," DeSantis said,

The governor said that he trusts Floridians to "make good decisions" like they have thus far and believes they'll continue to be responsible.

Gov. DeSantis also broke down some numbers about the individuals who are contracting the virus in the state.

From April 15 to June, DeSantis said that there has been a 43 percent decline in people in ICU and a 56 percent drop of patients on ventilators. As of last week, the governor said the median age of those testing positive is 37 as people under 40 begin getting tested in larger numbers.

DeSantis said that no one younger than 18 has died from the virus.

Tuesday morning, the Florida Department of Health reported a record-high of 2,783 new COVID-19 cases in a single day.