During an interview on “Fox and Friends” Monday morning, Mr DeSantis said he thinks “a lot” of the passengers infected are “foreigners.”
He then went on to suggest the state couldn’t support non-Floridians being “dumped into south Florida using up those valuable resources.”
Mr DeSantis said that only 33 percent of hospital beds were available in Florida and that field hospitals have been set up to deal with potential overflow. He went on to say he’d called the White House to voice his displeasure with infected non-Floridians being brought to his state.
As of Monday, Florida has 5,473 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths.
“So I am in contact with the White House on this. I’m in contact with the local county officials in both Broward and Miami-Dade. But yes, we view this as a big, big problem. We do not want to see people dumped in southern Florida right now,” he said.
In mid-March, Mr DeSantis refused to close down the state’s beaches during Spring Break weeks despite the US Centers for Disease Control’s guidance to suspend gatherings of 50 or more.
Monday, Mr DeSantis also signed an executive order directing residents in southeast Florida – Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm beach and Monroe Counties specifically – to stay at home through “mid-May.”
According to the Miami Herald, 59 percent of the confirmed coronavirus cases in the state are centred in those four counties.
The executive order is the latest in the governor’s measures to try to stem the spread of the virus. The state is also screening travellers entering from New York City at airports and highway checkpoints. Those found to be entering the state from the city are being asked to self quarantine for 14 days before travelling throughout the rest of the state.
Those found to be in violation of the self-quarantine could face 60 days in jail.
Democrats in the state senate have called on Mr DeSantis to issue a state-wide stay at home order, but he has resisted thus far.
Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez said that the order was a good step, but not enough.
“Because we remain so far behind on testing, we cannot know how far behind we also are in trying to catch up with the virus as it spreads. Counties like Lee, for example, have medical professionals urging for a safer-at-home order, reminding us why a statewide order is the best approach,” he said in a statement.