Sunday, March 29, 2020
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Ocala

Tri-county COVID-19 cases jump to 21 as DeSantis targets flights from New York area

On a day when Gov. Ron DeSantis was in The Villages to open a new testing site and later vowed to restrict travelers from the New York area, the number of COVID-19 cases in the tri-county increased to 21.

Three more Sumter County residents tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
That brings to total number of patients in that county to eight – six men and two women. Four of those patients, including 67-year-old Village of Monarch Grove resident Tony Perry, are hospitalized. Five of the Sumter cases have been deemed travel related, while two didn’t involve travel and one is still unknown.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who spoke at The Villages Polo Fields on Monday morning to officially open the new COVID-19 testing site in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown, said later in the day that passengers flying into the state from the New York area will be forced to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Nine Coronavirus patients – six men and three women, one of whom lives in the Lady Lake Mobile Home Park – have now been identified in Lake County – the most in the tri-county area. They range in age from 26 to 80, with an average age of 56. Two of those patients are hospitalized, three have been identified as travel related, four were not related to travel and two are unknown about travel.

Marion County is holding steady at four COVID-19 patients – three women and one man. They range in age from 40 to 68, with an average age of 54. None of have been hospitalized, while three of the cases have been identified as travel related and the fourth one is unknown about travel.

All told, 1,227 Floridians have tested positive for COVID-19 – 1,147 Sunshine State residents and 80 non-residents. There have been 14 deaths in the state and 1,237 people are being monitored.

Late Monday afternoon, DeSantis announced via a press conference that he was issuing an executive order mandating that anyone who flies into Florida from the New York area will have to self-isolate themselves for 14 days. He said more than 190 direct flights came into Florida from that area on Monday alone, pointing out that the number jumped significantly after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all residents to shelter in place.

“As we’re working to stop it in the state of Florida, you’re consistently having people come in from one of the top hot spots in the entire world,” DeSantis said. “Hopefully that will be a deterrent for people if you’re just simply trying to escape here to avoid the restrictions that have been put in place in your own state.”

DeSantis said local or state law enforcement officials, along with someone from the health department, will most likely meet those flights, gather information, perform temperature checks and tell the travelers they will be required to be self-quarantined for two weeks. He added that staying with family members doesn’t meet the definition of self-isolation.

“We wish our friends in New York well,” DeSantis said. “They’ve got a tough fight. I think a lot of the folks there, from the governor and everyone, are working really hard and I commend them for efforts. But we also have to protect the folks here in the state of Florida.”

Photos in Ocala, Florida

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