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DeSantis promises to keep Florida open despite recent coronavirus case surge

Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida makes bid for Olympics if Tokyo backs out Florida scientist who accused state of manipulating coronavirus data tests positive for COVID-19, turns herself in Overnight Health Care: Testing capacity strained as localities struggle with vaccine staffing | Health workers refusing vaccine is growing problem | Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 COVID deaths by mid-February MORE said this week he has no plans of imposing new coronavirus restrictions despite a recent surge in cases there. 

"The Governor will not lock down and hurt families who can't afford to shelter in place for 6 weeks," DeSantis's office said in a statement to local media."Especially not for a virus that has a 99.8% survival rate. One area of concern is Assisted Living Facilities."

Florida reported more than 10,000 cases in one day over the weekend, CBS12 in West Palm Beach reported, a spike the Republican's office attributed to an irregular amount of testing being reported to local health officials. 

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"Today we are back down to 4,500 [cases] and a 7.3% positivity rate," a spokesperson said. "We believe yesterday's high number was due to a large submission file and skewed the numbers for that day." 

When it comes to assisted living facilities in the state, which face a higher risk of infection from the coronavirus, the governor plans to be "prepared to move therapeutic and prophylactic assets to those facilities as needed."

Florida was listed in a late October report from the White House coronavirus team as in the so-called red zone for total new cases. 

DeSantis, who has consistently resisted statewide lockdown measures since the pandemic began and has earned the praise of President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE for doing so, has repeatedly insisted governments need to focus on protecting more vulnerable populations from the virus than the general public. 

"If I really had one message for folks it would be —  protect the vulnerable," he said in June. "Now part of that is doing things like supporting our long term care facilities ... I mean people going to business is not what's driving it."

As of Wednesday, more than 890,000 people in Florida have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and nearly 18,000 people have died.