Top elected officials in Florida, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, have been warned that they could have been exposed to the novel coronavirus after attending a local sheriff’s association meeting last week.
According to the Hill, last week 60 people attended the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) meeting at a Bonita Springs hotel, where the hotel and the association “took every precaution” and “exceeded” social distancing recommendations at the event. Masks were reportedly required, there was one table per person and each table was ten feet away from the next.
Still, last week an attendee told the association that they had tested positive for the virus last Wednesday, prompting the FSA to notify everyone in attendance. On Monday, Florida Corrections Secretary Mark Inch, Corrections Deputy Secretary Ricky Dixon, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, who were all in attendance at the meeting, confirmed that they had tested positive for the virus. It is still not clear if they contracted the virus from the meeting or elsewhere.
DeSantis was also at the meeting. However his spokesperson, Cody McCloud, said that there was “no indication” that the governor came into “close contact with the individuals who have since tested positive for COVID-19.”
DeSantis has reportedly been tested regularly and has not had any symptoms.
The governor has been widely criticized for his handling of the pandemic since the very beginning. Currently, Florida is one of a handful of other states, including Texas and California, which have become hot spots for the coronavirus as new daily infections continue to rise.
Currently, Florida has 491,884 confirmed cases, second only to California, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.