Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, announced on Wednesday that he would issue a stay-at-home order beginning at midnight on Thursday, amid a sharp uptick in Wuhan coronavirus cases in the state.
The order, to be enforced for the entire month of April, will ban all non-essential outside activities. It is not clear yet what the state will consider “essential,” however both New York and California have implemented similar measures allowing residents to leave home for groceries and medical supplies.
“Florida has a very large epidemic underway,” former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday on CNBC. “There’s multiple hot spots, they were probably seeded in early February. Now they have large clusters.”
There are currently 6,741 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida with 85 deaths, according to the New York Times.
DeSantis has faced rising pressure to issue the order as the coronavirus has spread through the state. Florida could see anywhere between 2,281 to 15,333 deaths from the illness even with social-distancing efforts, according to projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
“New actions just announced by Florida’s Governor to implement tougher mitigation will hopefully reduce spread of COVID19 in state,” Gottlieb wrote on Twitter. “Florida is also testing much less than other states and needs more screening capacity to keep up with its expanding epidemic.”