ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida governor praised the state’s most populated counties Wednesday for their work to decrease the number of new coronavirus cases daily, including in Orange County, which receives about 75 million visitors annually.
“In Orange County with the theme parks, just think about how many people traveled through there in January, February and March,” DeSantis said.
The theme parks, including Universal Orlando, Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando, have been closed since mid-March to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, Orange County has seen 1,251 positive cases since the beginning of March, including 28 deaths from the respiratory illness. However, with expanded testing sites the county has reported fewer new cases this week, according to the Florida Department of Health database.
On Tuesday, 25 new cases were confirmed in Orange County. On April 1, the county saw its largest spike in cases with 115 new COVID-19 cases in one day.
“Orange county and central Florida has done a very good job" at flattening the curve, DeSantis said.
The governor also offered up praise for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Our of 1.4 million people in Hillsborough six new cases were reported Tuesday, according to the governor.
Florida has now tested more than 290,000 people or 1 in every 74 people, according to the governor.
DeSantis announced Wednesday Florida has signed contracts with two companies to expand private testing efforts. Quest and LabCorp are already running test results, along with state labs. Combined, state labs can only test about 900 samples a day.
The governor said the two companies will increase testing capacity by 18,00 samples per day turning around results within 48 hours.
The new labs will prioritize samples taken from long-term care facilities and walk-up testing sites, including the mobile testing sites in Orange County, DeSantis said.
Florida is still waiting on a batch of COVID-19 antibody tests to arrive. The governor said those were ordered last week.