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Gov. DeSantis: 'Median age of COVID-19 positive patients in Florida has trended down'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the median age of coronavirus positive cases is now 37. This is a decrease in age from the beginning of the pandemic.

MIAMI, Florida — On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave an update on the state's latest coronavirus numbers and discussed the increase in positive cases. The news conference was held in Miami, Florida at the Ernest R. Graham Center at Florida International University.

During the news conference, DeSantis said that the latest data shows that the median age for COVID-19 positive cases is now 37. He said the majority of those patients are asymptomatic or those with minimal symptoms.

DeSantis said that Duval County's median age of COVID-19 positive cases for Friday was 30.

"What we've seen over the last couple weeks is really a dramatic decline in that median age," he said. "Last week, the median age of all the positive tests in the state of Florida was 37."

DeSantis said that the increase in testing has contributed to the increase in positive cases because, at the start of the pandemic, younger people didn’t qualify to get tested.

“A new case is just a positive test. It doesn’t mean somebody’s sick,” he said. “The number of cases is not necessarily something that’s going to tell you what the burden of the disease is.”

This increase in cases has not affected hospital bed availability, DeSantis said. The state’s hospitals have more hospital beds available now than at the start of the pandemic.

To date, DeSantis said 1,533,420 people have been tested. That number is soon to be reaching 2 million DeSantis said in the upcoming weeks. 

DeSantis also said the increase in younger people testing positive for the coronavirus may have to do with the economy reopening and younger Floridians doing more socializing.

"A lot of this is voluntary compliance," he said. "You're just not gonna be able to police every single group of people, every single time. I think as you get into this, months after months, I think people do get a little tired, particularly in some of the age groups that may not be as at risk."

Earlier in the week, DeSantis spoke from Tallahasse about the increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Florida.

DeSantis said Florida's reopening plan remains on track and he made it clear that there were no changes in the works and no mandatory mask rules on the horizon.

DeSantis largely attributed the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases to even more testing being performed, especially in high-risk areas like long-term care facilities, prisons and farming communities where people live and work in close quarters.

Although masks are "recommended," DeSantis said, there's no requirement to wear them. It's up to individual businesses to decide whether their customers need to wear one or not, he added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages the use of a cloth face covering to curb the spread of COVID-19 because it may keep the wearer from spreading the respiratory virus to others. It can be especially useful in situations where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain.

During the Tuesday news conference, the governor did not provide modifications to the state's reopening plan, which remains in Phase Two. 

"We're not shutting down, we're going to go forward, we're going to continue to protect the most vulnerable," DeSantis said.

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