At least three more Florida residents or visitors have died due to complications from the coronavirus, according to the latest Florida Department of Health numbers, as the number of confirmed infections in the state surged above 1,200.
As of Monday, only about 20 of Florida’s 67 counties were untouched by COVID-19 infections, however, as the number of large-scale testing sites continue to open across the state that is expected to change this week.
By Monday at 6 p.m. there were 1,227 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Florida: 1,147 Florida residents and 80 non-Florida residents who tested positive in the state.
Florida health officials confirmed another death Monday morning bringing the state’s death toll to 14 but less than 8 hours later the state had confirmed four more deaths. Around 11 p.m., the Florida Department of Health posted a new update saying at least 17 people have died in the state from the coronavirus.
The 14th victim was in Palm Beach County, marking the second person to die due to the virus in the county in two days. The state has not yet released the whereabouts of the other victims.
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More than 2,000 people were tested over the weekend at a National Guard operated site at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis is in The Villages where another drive-thru COVID-19 testing site will open, operated by University of Florida Shands hospital. Later in the week, the Florida National Guard will open another large-scale operation at the Orange County Convention Center parking lot. A large-scale site is also open in Jacksonville at the Jaguars’ TIAA Bank stadium.
“When this all started in Florida, every sample taken had to be sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and that was a very cumbersome process,” DeSantis said Monday at the opening of The Villages site. “A lot of times you didn’t get results for a week. Then we were able to have our three state laboratories certified, since then it’s been liberalized and we can take advantage of resources at places like the University of Florida.”
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Nearly 14,000 people in Florida have been tested for COVID-19 as of Monday evening, according to the Department of Health.
DeSantis has issued several executive orders to prevent large social gatherings-- closing bars and nightclubs, along with restaurant dining rooms and gyms-- and mitigate possible exposures. He said Monday he thinks this is helping prevent the illness from spreading.
“We have 20 counties with zero infections," DeSantis said, adding 23 counties in Florida have only a few confirmed cases. "That can obviously change, but in those counties we really want those people to get tested and be isolated so we can hopefully prevent an outbreak in some of those areas.”
Florida could also see a rise in COVID-19 cases, according to the governor, because of people flying into the state.
DeSantis said that when New York went into shelter-in-place provisions due to the virus people left and headed to Florida.
“Today there are over 190 direct flights from the New York City area to Florida,” DeSantis said. “I would reckon given the outbreak there that every single flight has someone on it that is positive for COVID-19, and so as we’re working to stop it in the state of Florida.”
The DOH updates its testing and case numbers twice daily at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Here’s the breakdown of confirmed cases in Central Florida:
- Brevard County: 7
- Flagler County: 3
- Lake County: 9
- Marion County: 4
- Orange County: 48
- Osceola County: 25
- Polk County: 13
- Seminole County: 22
- Sumter County: 8
- Volusia County: 16
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is highly contagious and spread person-to-person. To help prevent new infections and slow the spread, the U.S. Centers for Disease control recommends people maintain 6 feet apart and do not gather in groups of 10 or more.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 15,000 people have died worldwide from the disease cased by COVID-19.