By Jason Schaumburg | The Center Square
After initially ordering new travelers to Florida airports from COVID-19 hotspots to quarantine after arriving in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday widened the order to anyone who traveled to Florida from the New York City area in the past three weeks.
Travelers who fit the description also must report close contacts they've had with anyone in the state of Florida.
"This is important because after all the hard work, we don't want it to now get seeded here as people flee the hot zone," DeSantis said Tuesday in a live stream briefing from his office in Tallahassee.
On Monday night, DeSantis ordered travelers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to isolate or quarantine for 14 days or the duration of the person’s presence in Florida, whichever is shorter.
DeSantis also said Tuesday that Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees would be issuing a health advisory that encourages all residents 65 or older to stay home for the next 14 days to minimize their exposure to coronavirus. The advisory also applies to those with serious underlying medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, compromised immune systems and severe obesity, DeSantis said.
"As we've seen with this virus, the folks who are 65 and plus are the ones who have the best chance to suffer a negative outcome," DeSantis said. "That's disproportionately so when you talk about fatalities. So we want to make sure those folks are protected."
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health reported 1,412 COVID-19 cases in the state, including 18 deaths.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus. The disease has caused at least 684 deaths in the U.S., with more than 52,800 confirmed cases in the country. COVID-19 symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.
Most people who have it develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually the elderly and those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.