ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health on Monday announced 1,685 new cases of coronavirus in the state, marking the lowest number of new cases the agency has detected in more than two weeks.
The new cases of the respiratory illness bring the state total to 685,439 since the virus was first detected in March. That number could increase as the University of Central Florida begins to randomly test its students for the virus, with the school formally rolling out its program on Monday.
Meanwhile, Olympia High School students and staff returned to the classrooms Monday after a two-week campus shutdown. Nearly 1,000 students quickly transitioned to online learning after several cases of COVID-19 were detected on campus earlier this month.
Elsewhere, students at West Orange High School who opted for face-to-face instruction will be learning at home for the next two weeks. The district has closed the campus on account of confirmed coronavirus cases.
[DATABASE: Tracking coronavirus in Central Florida schools]
The FDOH also reported 21 people have recently died from the virus. As of Monday, 13,480 have passed away due to complications with COVID-19 across the state. Florida’s death total is comprised of 13,317 residents and 163 non-residents who died in the state.
Data from COVID-19 related deaths is often delayed and new deaths can take up to two weeks to report, according to health officials.
According to the Agency for Health Care Administration, as of Monday morning, there were a total of 2,267 patients hospitalized statewide with COVID-19.
The FDOH reported 90 new hospitalized patients Monday. So far, 42,543 people have been hospitalized in some capacity due to the virus.
Florida’s daily positivity rate -- the number of new cases compared to overall tests --- was 4.36% when calculating for the tests done the day prior.
[SEE SUNDAY’S REPORT: 2,521 new COVID-19 cases reported in Florida]
Here are three things to know for Sept. 21.
- Campus closures: Nearly 1,000 students at West Orange High School are transitioning to online learning Monday after 10 cases of coronavirus were detected in the campus community. The school will be shut down for two weeks. Meantime, Olympia High School students returned to the classroom after an in-person learning hiatus. Health officials are reminding families to make sure students wear a mask when possible and to remain diligent about handwashing.
- UCF randomly testing students for COVID-19: After three sorority houses were placed on quarantine and a series of COVID-19 cases connected to UCF Greek life, the university will begin random virus testing Monday. The university says it will test a sample of 100 students and they will be notified via email. News 6 asked a legal analyst if this is allowed -- and it is. Read why here.
- Daily positivity rate holds steady: Florida’s daily positivity rate has remained below 5% over the last several days, a hopeful sign as testing numbers fluctuate throughout the state. As the rate of people testing positive for the first time steadily declines, health officials say Florida is still not in the clear. Public health authorities are watching the statistic carefully as UCF tests more students and known exposure to the virus at schools could cause students and staff to turn to testing to see if they contracted COVID-19.
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