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Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried urges Governor DeSantis to issue 'stay-at-home' order

As of Friday evening, three states have already done so: California, New York and Illinois.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a statement on Friday asking Governor Ron DeSantis to consider implementing a statewide “stay-at-home” order.

As of Friday evening, three states have already done so: California, New York and Illinois. Connecticut has issued a similar "Stay Safe, Stay Home" policy.

In Fried’s statement, she said she recognizes the difficult decisions that Governor DeSantis has had to make during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“No Governor in recent history would have expected to have to make a decision like California, New York, or Illinois have made in the past 72 hours,” she said. “Shutting down one of the nation’s largest states is a decision that will have an economic impact – but it is a decision that will save lives.”

So far, 10 people have died from COVID-19 and there are more than 560 confirmed cases in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Fried said that, based on data, Florida is about a week behind California in terms of coronavirus cases.

“The individuals and businesses I’ve spoken with are growing more anxious by the day. As the nation’s third largest state, we need to go further, and we cannot afford to lose another week,” she continued.

Under the proposed stay-at-home order, Fried recommends closing all non-essential businesses “for a reasonable time frame, after which time the situation could be reassessed.”

Her statement concludes with a sense of urgency.

“I encourage the Governor to take this decisive action today to save lives and preserve Florida’s economy for our shared future. I will stand by the Governor should he make this difficult decision, and I implore him to do so now.”

Editor's Note: On Friday night, the Florida Department of Health announced it had mistakenly reported a coronavirus-related death in Pasco County. There had been a total of 10 recorded COVID-19 deaths in Florida — not 11 — as of Friday evening. This story has been corrected. 

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: Illinois and New York join California in ordering residents to stay home

RELATED: COVID-19 updates: Florida Department of Health reports 11 COVID-19 deaths, 563 positive cases in the state

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