Florida coronavirus cases surge to more than 300

Confirmed cases jump by nearly 100, state numbers show

Carline Denis screens people waiting in their vehicles to be approved for testing for COVID-19 at the Doris Ison Health Center, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Miami. The testing is being provided by Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health show there are more than 300 cases of coronavirus in Florida as of Wednesday morning, according to the department’s database, a jump of nearly 100 new confirmed cases in less than 24 hours.

According to the Health Department’s database that updates as new cases are confirmed, there are 314 COVID-19 patients in Florida either permanent residents or visitors diagnosed in the state. That number includes 289 state residents and 25 non-Florida residents diagnosed here, as well as six Floridians recovering outside of the Sunshine State.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday at 5 p.m. there were 216 confirmed cases. According to the FDOH, by 11 a.m. Wednesday, COVID-19 cases in Florida had jumped by nearly 100 with nearly 1,000 people awaiting test results to determine if they, too, have the respiratory illness.

Florida is partnering with private laboratories around the state to expand COVID-19 laboratory testing capacity, according to the Department of Health.

“This partnership will increase the number of tests conducted each day and ensure Floridians receive the critical health information they need in a timely manner,” a statement from the DOH read. “Expansion to private laboratories changes the COVID-19 testing landscape in Florida. Private laboratories will run tests as they receive swab samples from practitioners.”

DeSantis said Wednesday that testing remains his top priority followed by securing personal protective equipment for medical professionals.

Florida health officials are releasing updated numbers twice daily at noon and 6 p.m.

It’s important to note that the numbers provided by the state might not include some local cases. According to officials with Seminole County Emergency Operations Center, the state database numbers may be delayed by up to 24 to 48 hours, which is why some counties could be reporting more cases than what the state is reporting. For example, according to the FDOH, Seminole County has seven cases Wednesday but county health officials say there are 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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Seven Florida residents have died from the coronavirus, according to the state.

Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties account for more than half of the coronavirus cases in Florida, according to the FDOH numbers.

In Central Florida, eight counties have at least one confirmed case. Here’s the breakdown by area, based on the FDOH numbers:

  • Volusia County- 9 (all Florida residents)
  • Orange County- 9 (7 Florida residents, 1 not in Florida, 1 non-Florida resident)
  • Osceola County- 8 (6 Florida residents, 2 non-residents)
  • Seminole County- 7 (all Florida residents) -- County reporting 10 cases
  • Lake County- 2 (all Florida residents)
  • Sumter County- 1 (Florida resident)
  • Brevard County- 1 (Florida resident)
  • Polk County-1 (Florida resident)

After the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines on the pandemic recommending people avoid gatherings of 10 or more, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all bars and nightclubs close for 30 days.

County and city officials began enforcing that crowd limit on beaches across the state this week, including in Volusia and Brevard County.

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