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'Encouraging trends, a lot more to do' | Gov. DeSantis during COVID-19 update

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a COVID-19 update during a news conference Aug. 3 at Broward Health in Ft. Lauderdale. He announced changes at testing sites.

FT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference regarding COVID-19 in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday.

Gov. DeSantis said the preparations for tropical storm Isaias were a "good trial run" for what the state would do in advance of a hurricane. The state tested its sheltering strategy by sending PPE kits to emergency shelters in the storm's path. Shelters were also expected to redirect people testing positive for COVID-19 or having a fever to local hotels where they could quarantine and stay safe. 

The governor added that today the state of Florida reported one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 test positivity in weeks, showing 9% statewide. 

RELATED: Florida reports another 4,752 COVID-19 cases, positivity rate again below 10 percent

Other health officials confirmed that the state has seen a two-week decline in both the numbers of coronavirus-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

Governor DeSantis also said every COVID-19 test site in Florida will now have a lane exclusively for the use of people who are symptomatic, more than 65 years old, or both. These lanes will have self-swab test kits available and should provide test results between 48-72 hours after testing. 

DeSantis said many people had complained of test results coming back after a week, rendering them virtually useless. He hopes these new tests will help the most at-risk groups.

The 15,300 cases confirmed on July 11 marked the highest number of new COVID-19 cases reported by any state in a single day. The report for July 15 was the second-highest with 13,965 new cases.

Florida has now had more confirmed cases than Germany and France, according to data from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. Germany has 83.02 million residents, which is more than 3.86 times the population of Florida. France has nearly 67 million residents -- more than three times Florida's population. 

On July 25, Florida surpassed New York in the number of total coronavirus cases confirmed since March. That day's report from the Florida Department health reported 414,511 total cases. New York had reported 411,200 confirmed cases. 

RELATED: Florida coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations, recoveries

RELATED: Florida physicians say school reopenings could be 'super-spreader events' for COVID-19