5,000 healthcare workers call on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a state-wide mask order

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks holding his facemask during a press conference to address the rise of coronavirus cases in the state, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on July 13, 2020. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks holding his facemask during a press conference to address the rise of coronavirus cases in the state, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on July 13, 2020. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

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With 432,747 confirmed coronavirus cases, Florida is now at the center of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak, prompting a union for one of the state’s largest healthcare systems to seek a mask order.

Florida is second only to California in confirmed cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

So to help curb the spread of the virus, the Jackson Health employee union representing more than 5,000 nurses, physicians and health care professionals is demanding that Gov. Ron DeSantis issue a state-wide mask mandate, according to a news release issued by the group.

“With Miami-Dade the new epicenter of coronavirus with over 100,000 positive cases, and Florida cases now surpassing New York, it’s critical that the state follow health restrictions including putting in place a mask requirement to control this crisis,” the release said.

DeSantis has recommended the use of masks but has not issued a mask mandate statewide. Jackson Health is the one of the largest health systems in the state of Florida.

According to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), 46 hospital ICUs in Florida have reached capacity with no available ICU beds available.

Another 30 hospitals have 10% or less ICU capacity available, according to AHCA. The AHCA reports about 18% of ICU beds are available across the State of Florida.

DeSantis said that hospital admissions on Sunday in Florida were the lowest they’ve been since June during a briefing with press Vice President Mike Pence. DeSantis said that the state also has the lowest mortality rate in the nation at 1.3%.

Florida’s Department of Health reported a total of 8,892 new cases and 77 new deaths on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Florida teacher’s union is calling the surge in coronavirus cases in children “alarming,” and is suing DeSantis to stop the reopening of schools next month.

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