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Florida coronavirus death toll rises to 8, latest numbers show

Public health officials expect numbers to increase significantly by end of week

ORLANDO, Fla. – State health officials have reported another death in Florida due to the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed Florida cases increased to 328 Wednesday evening.

New data released at 6 p.m. showed one new death in relation to COVID-19 and that 14 new patients are being treated for the illness, according to the Florida Department of Health database. These new cases are either Florida residents or visitors diagnosed within the Sunshine State. Currently, there are 299 residents being treated for the virus, another 29 who do not typically reside in Florida.

Florida health officials said one person died in Clay County Wednesday who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the state’s death toll to eight.

Sumter County reported its first case Wednesday. Polk, Brevard and Orange Counties saw an increase in the number of cases.

Florida has chosen to collaborate with private laboratories to expand coronavirus testing. President Trump also announced Wednesday in the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing that medical professionals are working to perfect self-swab tests to more widely distribute examinations while still maintaining the integrity and efficiency of the test.

In Central Florida, FEMA is also expected to open a large-scale coronavirus testing facility as soon as Friday at the Orange County Convention Center. It will be operated by the National Guard, according to Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino.

Pino also said a smaller local testing site will open near Alafaya Trail, ready to test and treat people who meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria to be tested for the coronavirus.

“We are experiencing lower instances than in Miami and Broward where there is double-digit number of cases,” Pino said in a news conference. “Every 5 to 14 days we get a wave of new cases and then those will transmit to a larger number of cases and that’s how this multiplies”

[RELATED: Here’s where to get your drive-thru coronavirus test]

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that testing is the state’s top priority.

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- 11 (9 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- 2 (all Florida residents)
  • Polk County-2 (all Florida residents)

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