Florida coronavirus death toll surpasses 600 Wednesday, with more than 22,500 cases statewide
New deaths reported in Lake and Orange counties Wednesday
Florida’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 600 Wednesday evening as more than 22,500 have been infected across the state in less than two months, according to the latest testing results released by the Florida Department of Health.
The department typically releases COVID-19 data twice, at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. but around 4 p.m. the numbers updated again and then for a final time on Wednesday before 6:30 p.m.
The DOH reports there are now 22,519 people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the state as of Wednesday afternoon, an increase of more than 440 new cases throughout the day. Florida’s first case was confirmed on March 1.
Since the beginning of March, 3,249 people have required hospital care due to the respiratory illness, according to the DOH numbers.
The state also began including race and gender breakdowns of COVID-19 infection in the state dashboard for each county. However, it doesn’t offer a complete picture of the people who have or had coronavirus because most counties are reporting “unknown” under race for at least some cases.
Some communities have seen a disproportionate amount of infections in minorities.
In Orange County, the area with the most cases in the Central Florida region, under ethnicity there is no data or it was unknown for 42% of the 1,072 infections according to the dashboard.
The new cases included individuals across Central Florida who tested positive Wednesday, including two new fatalities in Lake County and one in Orange County.
Here is the breakdown of confirmed COVID-19 cases by Central Florida county.
The FDOH numbers do not show how many people have recovered from the virus. Department officials have declined to release that information after several requests from News 6. Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino said coronavirus patients must test negative twice in 24 hours before leaving isolation.
Take a look at the map and dashboard below.
Zoom out to see the reported cases across the state. If you are having trouble viewing on mobile, click here.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across Florida, local and state leaders are racing to provide resources for residents in the form of expanded testing sites with loosened testing criteria, comprehensive medical care and financial relief as the coronavirus continues to disrupt the nation.
The state-operated drive-up coronavirus testing site at the Orange County Convention Center is equipped as of Wednesday morning to administer 750 tests to Floridians each day.
“We’ve been given an increase by the governor so that’s where that direction comes from,” Lauren Luna, a spokesperson for the FEMA testing site said. “These are now state assets. Last week we transitioned from a state site to a federal site so that’s the biggest change.”
The Orange County testing site has been open for 24 days as of Wednesday morning and has grown exponentially since opening, only offering 250 tests on its first day of operation. The site then expanded to 350 tests per day, then to 400 before offering 750 tests each day.
Coronavirus tests are free and you do not need to show an insurance card. The site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it will close if the center hits the maximum amount of tests.
To find the coronavirus testing site nearest you, use the map below. News 6 is committed to updating the map below as new locations open.
Many Floridians are anxiously awaiting Economic Impact Payment stimulus checks that are set to begin hitting bank accounts anytime now as Florida’s unemployment system continues to falter due to demand.
Jobless Floridians continue to flood the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity website trying to apply for unemployment benefits amid the spread of the coronavirus. The agency distributing the funds has not disclosed when eligible claimants should expect to receive their first weekly payment.
The IRS is offering a tool so Americans can track the status of their stimulus check.
To check on the status of your Economic Impact Payment, got to the IRS’ website and click on the “Get my Payment” tab, or follow the link here.
You will need to enter your Social Security number, date of birth, street address and postal code.
Direct deposit is the preferred method for the federal government to issue the stimulus money from the CARES ACT but paper checks will be mailed eventually as well. Many Americans do not file taxes or haven’t updated their banking information since the last time they filed.
According to the IRS, this application should be filled out if you did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples). This includes people who had no income.
Additionally, the IRS said people in these groups who have qualifying children under age 17 can use this application to claim the $500 payment per child.
If you receive Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, or Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits you should not fill out the aforementioned form, according to the IRS.
Some in Central Florida have already received their payments. Those who have filed their 2018 or 2019 tax returns and have also authorized a direct deposit will receive their money first.
Those who haven’t filed returns, haven’t authorized direct deposit, or don’t receive Social Security, will have to wait longer for their payments.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday tens of thousands of Walt Disney Workers who were recently furloughed could be automatically enrolled in Florida’s already overburdened unemployment system.
State Rep. Anna Eskamani said Wednesday on Twitter that he had been reaching out to the DEO to get more information on when Floridians could expect their stimulus checks.
Finally spoke to @FLDEO — For those who have been processed already as being eligible in Florida for benefits you will now get $600 check in the mail for this week that is federally funded. The check was apparently faster than anything else. 1/— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) April 15, 2020
As many professionals continue to work from home, it seems that students may be continuing their school career from within their homes as well.
The Florida Education Associated on Tuesday called on the governor to keep schools closed for the rest of the academic year in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Union president Fedrick Ingram emailed a letter to the governor’s office, writing that “returning prematurely will threaten the safety and well-being of all on campus.”
According to Ingram’s letter to DeSantis, about 20% of Florida schools average more than 1,000 students in attendance on a daily basis. Ingram saying those numbers increase when accounting for faculty and staff.
DeSantis extended school closures on March 17 while suspending standardized state testing. Students have since transitioned to distance learning, a feat that schools accomplished in a limited time. Online-only learning will continue through at least May 1.
The governor has yet to respond to Ingram’s letter.
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