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New Yorkers face restrictions in Florida, but Sunshine State's virus cases rising

A Southwest plane prepares for departure at Long

A Southwest plane prepares for departure at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma. New Yorkers who go to Florida are asked to self-isolate for 14 days before venturing out in public. Credit: Barry Sloan

States like Florida have looked nervously at New Yorkers as potential spreaders of the coronavirus, requiring visitors from New York to self-isolate for 14 days.

But as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues the reopening of the state’s economy, more Floridians are now testing positive for the coronavirus than New Yorkers.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 4,041 people tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida, compared with 3,168 in New York, according to health departments in the two states. All but 48 of those testing positive in Florida are Florida residents, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The 1,419 new cases in Florida on Wednesday was the state’s largest single-day increase in cases, Florida media outlets reported.

DeSantis’ office did not respond to requests for comment.

Florida has been much more aggressive than New York in opening its economy. Bars, concert venues and movie theaters were permitted to reopen Friday at 50% capacity, and gyms and retail stores were allowed to open to full capacity, other than in South Florida.

DeSantis said Thursday on "Fox & Friends" that the state believes it will be able to host the Republican National Convention, which President Donald Trump said will be moved out of Charlotte, North Carolina, because that state cannot guarantee it will be held without coronavirus-related restrictions.

New York, the state hardest hit by the pandemic, has seen sharp declines in cases. The number of hospitalizations statewide fell again Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced during his daily coronavirus briefing Friday, to 2,728  from a peak of nearly 19,000 in early April.

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The percent of New Yorkers who test positive also has fallen in the past few weeks, with 2% on Long Island tested this week now getting a positive result, compared with 20% in late April, the governor said Thursday.

In Florida, between 3.37% and 5.65% have tested positive over the past four days, Florida health department data shows.

DeSantis on March 23 signed an executive order requiring visitors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-isolate for 14 days before venturing out in public. He later added Louisiana to the list.

Each arriving traveler must fill out a form and supply contact information, travel itinerary and other details. There are checkpoints at the state line on interstates 10 and 95, and at airports.

A Florida transportation department spokeswoman did not respond to questions as to how the policy is enforced.

Several other states also have singled out New York and other high-caseload states for 14-day self-isolations, while other states have required or recommended self-isolation for all out-of-state visitors.

With Olivia Winslow

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