Governor says state's COVID-19 downward trend is promising

During a visit to Tampa Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis said how Florida’s coronavirus numbers are trending downward and showing positive signs for daily positive cases, hospitalizations and ICU stays.

The state reported nearly 1,900 positive COVID-19 cases Monday, the lowest number of new daily infections since June.

“COVID-positive hospitalizations are down roughly 60 percent from the July peak. ICU COVID-positive down 52 percent since the July peak,” said DeSantis.

RELATED: 1,885 new Florida coronavirus cases reported Monday; 68 new deaths

While visiting USF’s Morsani College of Medicine, DeSantis shared how the scenes at hospitals have changed since the mid-summer peak.

“I think our most important metric, our emergency department visits for COVID-like illnesses are down, I think 70 percent since the July 7 peak. So, those are all good indicators. Obviously, we want to continue that,” the governor said.

As coronavirus numbers continue on a downward trend statewide, testing remains critical. While data shows people who test positive for COVID-19 can show a variety of symptoms or none at all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently narrowed its testing guidelines. The agency now recommends only testing people who show symptoms.

“There’s no desire to decrease testing. In fact, we’re going to increase testing,” said Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist with the White House coronavirus taskforce. “I think the genesis of this document is to do very smart testing because the goal of all this testing is to save lives. The goal is not to document asymptomatic healthy people.”

And as companies race to finish a vaccine in record time, Atlas said 100 million doses are expected to be ready by the end of the year.

“The way vaccines work, there’s a prioritization of people who are high risk to get vaccines in general. That’s the way a pandemic vaccine works,” said Atlas. “They are enrolling subjects into the vaccine testing, and the enrollment is going well from what I understand.”

DeSantis said he believes it’s important to focus testing on those who show symptoms because he said the tests can be very sensitive and pick up the virus weeks after you may have recovered.