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DeSantis Discusses State Alzheimer’s Funding, Cruise Lawsuit Win While In Jacksonville

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at The Windsor at San Pablo, an assisted living facility in Jacksonville, on June 21, 2021.
Tristan Wood
/
WJCT News
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at The Windsor at San Pablo, an assisted living facility in Jacksonville, on June 21, 2021.

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference to discuss the state’s increased budget for Alzheimer’s research and care at The Windsor at San Pablo, an assisted living facility in Jacksonville.

Florida will allocate $51 million towards dealing with Alzheimer’s during the state’s 2021-2022 fiscal year, an increase of $12 million dollars.

The money will fund the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, which helps provide care and equipment for those dealing with the disease. DeSantis said it will also support Alzheimer’s research grants to institutions around the state, like the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. The Clinic estimates 57,000 people have Alzheimer’s in the 11 counties closest to Jacksonville.

“In the past year, they have completed over 200 evaluations and almost 100 free memory screenings,” DeSantis said. “They have also trained almost 1500 caregivers, first responders, healthcare workers and others whose family or friends may be suffering from memory loss through an education program.”

About 580,000 Florida residents, or 2.7%, have Alzheimer’s, giving the state one of the highest Alzheimer’s rates in the United States. 

The United States average is about 1.76%. Florida Alzheimer’s patients make up about 10% of the national total, while the state’s population is only 6.5% of the nation’s total population.

DeSantis has listed Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia as a priority within the state’s health improvement plan. Earlier this month, he signed a proclamation marking June as Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month in Florida.

“In Florida, we continue to put seniors first,” DeSantis said.

The governor also used the press conference to comment on Friday’s decision in the state’s lawsuit against the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC previously issued a no-sail order for cruise ships because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A federal judge decided Friday to allow cruise ships to resume sailing on July 18 while the suit makes its way through the court.

DeSantis applauded the decision, adding he expects it to be upheld at the circuit court level and the state to win the case.

“You can't have an agency relying on flimsy legal authority to just keep an entire industry close with really no path forward,” he said.

The Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship sails to the Bahamas from Jacksonville. It’s first cruise this year is currently scheduled for November, according to a check of Carnival’s website Monday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately clear if Friday’s ruling would move up the Ecstasy’s schedule. 

 
Tristan Wood can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @TristanDWood.