Florida coronavirus cases top 37,400, including 1,471 deaths, as state eases into reopening

Florida enters day 2 of phase 1 reopening plan

FILE - In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Hawaii state Department of Health microbiologist Mark Nagata demonstrates the process for testing a sample for coronavirus at the department's laboratory in Pearl City, Hawaii. An Associated Press analysis shows that some of the least-populated states, such as Hawaii, with relatively few coronavirus cases received an out-sized proportion of the $150 billion in federal money that was designed to address virus-related expenses. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy, File) (Audrey Mcavoy, AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. – As barber shops and salon owners await the go ahead from Gov. Ron DeSantis to reopen, other businesses continue to emerge from the coronavirus stay-at-home order it remains to be seen if the governor’s phase one reopening plan for Florida will be limited enough to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness.

As of Tuesday morning when the Florida Department of Health released the latest coronavirus numbers Florida has a total of 37,439 cases. That number is the overall total since March 1. The state does not report recoveries.

Health officials are reporting 1,471 deaths from COVID-19 statewide, however, that number could be lower as the state ordered the Medical Examiners Commission to stop reporting coronavirus related deaths, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

More than 6,330 people with severe cases of the illness have been hospitalized since the first confirmed case of the virus in Florida. Again, the DOH does not release current hospitalizations only the overall total.

[TIMELINE: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]

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Overnight into Tuesday, Central Florida counties reported new COVID-19 cases but in Orange County, the largest by population, only eight new cases were reported and no new fatalities.

Here’s a breakdown of Central Florida cases by county:


Some Floridians may return to work before they receive unemployment pay from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, many who have been waiting for more than a month. On Monday, DeSantis said he has directed the inspector general to investigate how the unemployment system CONNECT was paid for when it was built under Gov. Rick Scott’s administration in 2013.

The state paid a total of $77.9 million to Deloitte in 2013 to rebuild the state’s unemployment website.

DeSantis has previously said the CONNECT system was flawed and not prepared to handle a surge of this capacity or any surge for that matter.

“Any system was going to have some problems, but, if we had anything other than 3 or 4% unemployment, this system was going to be a problem," DeSantis said. "Even a mild recession, this would have been a problem and so that’s not a good use of taxpayer money.”

Workers at Florida’s major theme parks who have been furloughed due to the shuttered theme parks still don’t have a date for when they will return to work.

On Monday, during the Orange County reopen task force meeting members spoke to executives with Disney World and Universal Orlando but both major theme park operators said it was too early to share a timeline.

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