TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The home of the Jacksonville Jaguars will soon be used as a drive-thru testing site for COVID-19, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news conference Monday afternoon.
The state is working with federal leaders to expand drive-thru testing sites targeted at health care workers and those age 65 and older who are experiencing symptoms, DeSantis said. One of those sites will be TIAA Bank Field's parking lots.
The owner of the Miami Dolphins is also offering Hard Rock Stadium as a site for drive-thru testing, the governor said.
DeSantis also outlined the state's plan to help small businesses impacted financially by the coronavirus, as people are urged to stay home and avoid crowds. The state will supplement loans from the Small Business Administration to the tune of $50 million in bridge loans.
Small businesses with two to 100 employees can receive a $50,000 loan with a 0% fixed interest rate. You can find information on how to apply here.
The state is also providing tax assistance for businesses. DeSantis said he is directing the revenue department to extend deadlines of corporate income tax to the end of the fiscal year.
DeSantis said while most communities have canceled parades and festivals, he urges people to stay away from any St. Patrick's Day celebrations that have not yet been canceled.
“Fire up a Guinness in your own house," DeSantis said. "You’re not going to get any arguments from me."
Other state health leaders gave updates on state agencies' response and preparations to slow the spread of COVID-19. Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew compared the efforts to preparing for a hurricane.
"In Florida, we know what emergency preparedness is and how as a state we must respond," Mayhew said. "While there are uncharted waters around us, Florida knows how to weather storms. But the eye of this storm is disproportionately focused on our most vulnerable."
Last night, the AHCA directed thousands of providers across the state to immediately limit visitation to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Providers are now looking at creative ways for family members to communicate with their loved ones in long-term care and residential settings, Mayhew said.
The AHCA is also working to ensure any patients who have been sent to hospitals test negative for COVID-19 before they return to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. That testing will exceed CDC guidance, so it must be done through commercial labs or hospital labs, Mayhew said.
Hospitals should also screen visitors for symptoms and limit the number of elective procedures conducted, Mayhew said.
Links to Bookmark
- LIVE BLOG: Coronavirus on the First Coast
- List | Schools, events closed or canceled due to coronavirus concerns
- List | Florida universities, colleges move classes online due to coronavirus concerns
- List: Voting location changes, how to vote if you feel sick
- This interactive map shows all reported coronavirus cases in the world
- List: Grocery stores changing hours to stock as customers prep for COVID-19 quarantines
- Florida Department of Health's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard