Florida coronavirus cases up to 1,467 as Orange County issues stay-at-home order

Calls increase for Gov. Ron DeSantis to order statewide lockdown

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, talks with members of the Florida National Guard, Sunday, March 22, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. DeSantis held a news conference at the stadium where the National Guard opened a drive-thru testing site. On Sunday, they were only testing first responders. On Monday, they planned to expand it to people at least 65 years old who are showing symptoms of the illness. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

As Florida’s confirmed coronavirus cases jumped to more than 1,400 Tuesday, the state remains open amid calls for Gov. Ron DeSantis to order a statewide lockdown.

As of Tuesday evening, 1,467 people in the state had the respiratory illness, according to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health. The numbers include residents -- 1,379 cases -- and visitors -- 88 cases-- diagnosed while in Florida. The state numbers also include 20 people who have died from the illness.

Earlier in the day, the state announced 1,412 Florida-related cases.

Shortly before the evening numbers were released, Mayor Jerry Demings announced that Orange County would be under a stay-at-home order, effective Thursday night.

As of Tuesday, more than 15,500 people had been tested for coronavirus as the Florida National Guard opened several large-scale testing sites across the state. Private labs have also conducted testing.

Florida’s COVID-19 cases are leaning younger, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning that older populations are more at risk for the illness. More than 60% of confirmed cases are younger than 59 years old, according to the Florida DOH numbers.

On Monday, DeSantis said he did not want to close off Florida, instead ordering all travelers flying into Florida airports from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, so-called hot spots, to be screened for COVID-19 and placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine after their arrival.

“Today, there are over 190 direct flights from the New York City area to Florida,” DeSantis said Monday. “I would reckon, given the outbreak, there that every single flight has someone on it that is positive for COVID-19, so as we’re working to stop it in the state of Florida.”

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DeSantis said hundreds of people fled New York after the state was set to begin sheltering in place. Cases in New York have continued to rise and on Monday experienced a surge of an additional 5,000 cases putting the state’s total at 21,689, according to the New York Times.

Some Florida Democrats are calling on the Republican governor to impose a statewide stay-at-home order, but DeSantis said states that have done so have seen large numbers of residents refuse to comply.

A petition circulating online asking the governor to put Florida on lockdown amid the outbreak is gaining widespread support with more than 171,000 signatures and counting.

Meanwhile, some Florida cities and counties have issued stay-at-home orders for residents, including hardest hit areas in Miami-Dade County and Alachua County, which includes the University of Florida.

The governor has ordered such statewide closures as bars and gyms, and limited restaurants to takeout and delivery. State parks have been closed. Some counties have gone further, closing not only nonessential businesses but also beaches, marinas and some other public areas.

While in the U.S. the first reports of coronavirus cases were international travel related, about half of the cases in Florida are under investigation as to how the patient was exposed to the highly contagious virus, according to the DOH.

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The DOH updates its testing and case numbers twice daily at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Here’s a breakdown of the Central Florida cases:

Brevard County: 9 cases

Flagler County: 4 cases

Lake County: 14 cases

Marion County: 4 cases

Orange County: 52 cases

Osceola County: 26 cases

Polk County: 13 cases

Seminole County: 25 cases

Sumter County: 10 cases

Volusia County: 19 cases

In Central Florida on Tuesday, there were new cases confirmed in the area in almost every county, according to the state numbers, however, as local health department confirm new cases that could change throughout the day.

Just under 2,500 people have been tested for COVID-19 across Central Florida, according to Florida DOH numbers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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