Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave an update Friday on Hurricane Isaías and potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as the state watches and waits.
According to the latest advisory, experts say the storm could strengthen as it makes a run through the Bahamas Friday and Saturday.
DeSantis noted that state emergency management operations have been at a Level 1 since March, as part of the state’s COVID-19 response, so he said it is in a good position to pivot to storm preps.
“There will be impacts for Florida but our hope is that this is not something that is interacting in a significant way with the actual Florida coast.”
He says navigating storm preparedness efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic has taken some maneuvering. He said he's specifically looking at some of the agreements that hospitals have to take in and relocate special needs individuals should it be required.
"We won't anticipate that being an issue in Dade and Broward based on the current track," he said, followed by a comment that things could change based on what the storm decides to do.
DeSantis said 100% of the nursing homes in the state have working generators on site. If emergency shelters are needed, he said, the state has kits including hand sanitizer, gloves and masks to distribute.
He advised anyone in the path of the storm to have seven days of food water and medicine on hand and to be prepared for power outages.
“Just monitor this thing,” he said. “It has tracked a little bit further west so that’s something to keep [in mind]. Just keep a lookout for what’s going and please heed the warnings of your local officials.”
DeSantis said he's joining President Trump later in the day for a roundtable discussion on the impacts of COVID-19 and the storm. He says he will be seeking an extension of national guard support mandate which is due to expire in a few days
"The guard has had a huge role in COVID response," DeSantis said. "That is going to lapse in a couple of days and that could put us in a difficult position."
DeSantis intimated he may give another briefing later in the day and emphasized the situation is “very fluid.”
Florida's 14-day moving average for newly-confirmed coronavirus cases is beginning to show signs of plateauing after trending upward for weeks since the state reopened. However, the state is now seeing the recent spikes in deaths that experts predicted would follow the uptick in cases.
The Florida Department of Health receives lab test results each day. On Wednesday, it reported 8,989 COVID-19 cases for July 30, pushing the state's overall total to 470,386 since the pandemic began.
As far as Isaias is concerned, we can still look for a blustery day Sunday with coastal showers, heavier at times, with more clouds than sun. Wind gusts upwards of 40 - 50 mph along the coast.