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98 new coronavirus deaths reported in Florida

Florida adds over 200 COVID-19 deaths in 1 day for 1st time
Florida adds over 200 COVID-19 deaths in 1 day for 1st time

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Florida added 3,190 coronavirus cases Saturday, bringing the total number of statewide infections to 661,571 since March.

State health officials reported 98 new deaths, bringing the overall total to about 12,600. That brings the average daily reported deaths over the past week to 113. In the first half of August, the seven-day reported deaths average usually exceeded 170 deaths.

In recent days, state and local officials have made moves to relax some of the health safety rules put into place to prevent infection.

Florida Corrections Secretary Mark Inch on Friday announced that starting Oct. 2 that he will lift the state’s ban on visiting prisons. Inch said state corrections officials will release more information about the new visitation policies next week.

On Sept. 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a new emergency order allowing facilities to reopen to controlled visitation, and some care facilities in Pinellas County opened for the first time on Wednesday. The order allows general visitation to resume in homes that have had no new coronavirus cases in the previous 14 days. General visitors must stay 6 feet away from their loved ones and the visits happen in common areas, not private rooms.

Florida’s bars will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity on Monday as long as they follow state social distancing and COVID-prevention rules. However local officials aren’t allowing bars in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach to reopen yet, saying it isn’t safe enough in those areas because the virus is still prevalent.