Florida governor upset other states may follow his lead and quarantine visitors


Gov. Ron DeSantis asks pointedly that 'any Floridians in the nursing homes in New York' not be quarantined.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is not happy with Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York.

The reason? Cuomo is considering imposing quarantines on travelers to New York from out of state to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

However, the measure is one that the Florida Republican had previously instituted in his own state.

DeSantis signed an executive order on March 24 requiring 14-day quarantines of visitors to Florida from New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Cuomo said last week that he is "fearful" that people might travel to New York to escape coronavirus spikes in places like Florida. While Cuomo did not announce a quarantine on visitors, he said he was closely monitoring the situation.

"So if we start to see a large influx of people coming from one of the states that has a high transmission rate, that would be a cause for concern," Cuomo said. "And we're watching it day to day. There's no deadline on it. You know, we're reacting to the facts as they develop."

"I think governors are going to do what they need to do," DeSantis said at a news conference in response. "I would just ask them if that's done, just please do not quarantine any Floridians in the nursing homes in New York."

A high number of coronavirus deaths in New York earlier in the pandemic occurred among residents of nursing homes.

But Florida has now experienced spikes in the number of virus deaths, including among people in long-term care facilities. As of last week, more than half of the over 3,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the state were linked to nursing homes.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy are also reportedly considering imposing quarantines on visitors from states experiencing spikes in numbers of virus cases.

As the pandemic began to spread across the United States in March, New York and its neighbors were initially among the hardest hit.

Rather than issue stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the virus in Florida or shut down beaches being swarmed by spring break visitors from states with outbreaks, DeSantis responded by issuing the executive order targeting the visitors with quarantines.

The order, which was extended earlier this month, requires anyone arriving in Florida from Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York to "isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Florida or the duration of the individual's presence in Florida, whichever is shorter."

The number of new cases in the tri-state area of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey has recently dropped significantly. Each has seen a decline in the weekly number of new cases.

In May, DeSantis rushed to reopen Florida, despite the state not meeting federal criteria for opening back up. "The only thing we have to fear is letting fear overwhelm our sense of purpose and determination," he said at the time.

Since then, Florida has become a hot spot for the virus. The average positive test rate has increased over the past two weeks from 5% to 9.7%, according to analysis published by Politico on Monday.

Last week, Florida set a one-day record for new cases with a total of 4,049.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.