In a rare Saturday news conference, DeSantis, a Republican, made reference to a now-adjusted policy that Cuomo, a Democrat, had pushed, which allowed nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients despite how vulnerable the elderly population has been to the virus. DeSantis was an outspoken critic of the decision: in his state, nursing homes refused to admit residents who had tested positive.
“I think governors are going to do what they need to do,” DeSantis said. “I would just ask them if that’s done, just please do not quarantine any Floridians in the nursing homes in New York.”
Over 6,200 elderly residents may have died from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes, state health department statistics showed -- a figure that sparked criticism against Cuomo.
The comment from DeSantis follows Cuomo’s suggestion that New York may instate a mandatory two-week quarantine for any visitors from other states, specifically naming Florida.
“You want to talk about a full 180 for those people,” Cuomo said. “Florida and other states imposed quarantine on New Yorkers. If you went to Florida, you had to quarantine for two weeks because they were afraid that New Yorkers were bringing the virus to their state.”
“Fast forward 100 days now,” he continued. “We’re afraid they’re bringing the virus to our state.”
While Cuomo hasn’t made a decision on the matter yet, he noted that it’s been a “real concern.”
Rich Azzopardi, Senior advisor to the governor, responding to DeSantis' nursing home comment, replied: "Said the guy who can't even put a mask on the right way! Maybe less time repeating right-wing twitter bots and more time trying to competently manage the pandemic that's spiking in his state. His citizens, which polls show have zero faith in him, might appreciate it."
DeSantis discussed what his government planned to do in the face of rapidly increasing numbers of new cases, reporting record spikes in the previous few days. Saturday saw over 4,000 reported new cases after several daily totals of over 3,000 new cases. Reported hospitalizations were on the rise as well.
He acknowledged that the number cannot be explained simply by an increase in testing, and that he planned to step up enforcement of social-distancing practices in public spaces, including bars and nightclubs.
“Even with the testing increasing or being flat, the number of people testing positive is accelerating faster than that,” DeSantis said during his news conference Saturday. “You know that’s evidence that there’s transmission within those communities.”
As of Saturday, Florida had confirmed over 93,000 total cases, with over 3,100 deaths.