Florida coronavirus cases top 38,000 as state works to revive economy

Florida enters day 3 of Gov. DeSantis phased plan to reopen

Orlando mayor makes changes for businesses
Orlando mayor makes changes for businesses

Florida entered day three of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ phase one reopening plan on Wednesday, and cases of coronavirus continued to rise in the state.

Since the last time the Florida Department of Health reported COVID-19 data Tuesday morning, there are 563 new cases of COVID-19, and 69 new deaths related to the respiratory illness.

These new statistics bring the state’s total confirmed cases of coronavirus to 38,002 since the virus was first detected in the state on March 1. Since then, 1,539 Floridians have died from the disease.

More than 6,550 people with severe cases of the illness have been hospitalized since the first confirmed case of the virus in Florida. The DOH does not release current hospitalizations only the overall total.

Here’s a further outline of how those cases break down locally in Central Florida:


Publix announced Wednesday that three employees at different locations in Orange and Osceola counties had tested positive for coronavirus, despite the grocer’s measures to prevent the spread of the disease at their stores, which have been considered essential throughout the pandemic.

Publix officials said one employee from each of the locations below recently tested positive for the respiratory illness:

  • 10615 Narcoossee Rd., Orlando
  • 14185 Lake Nona Blvd., Orlando
  • 29 Blake Blvd., Celebration the pandemic.

“Like other essential service providers, we have seen our own associates and their families personally impacted by COVID-19,” officials said. “Unfortunately, as public health officials have indicated, we expect to see an increase in cases as the virus spreads in our communities.”

[INTERACTIVE MAP: Here’s where to get your drive-thru coronavirus test]

Many Central Floridians are pushing DeSantis to allow barber shops, salons and gyms to reopen as part of his phase one plan, but the governor has yet to respond to those requests.

Restaurants and retail stores are allowed to function at a 25% capacity currently but many local leaders are pushing for further allowances on operational guidelines from the governor.

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.

On Tuesday, however, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during the company’s quarter two earnings call that Shanghai Disneyland will begin a phased reopening on May 11. The park cannot exceed 30% capacity and when it opens next week Chapek said it will well below that capacity at first.

Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pam Hymel called this “an encouraging sign for Disney parks and retail locations all over the world.”

In a message, Hymel provided details of different health and safety measures the company is exploring to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Hymel said she is working with the U.S. Travel Association on a set of new guidelines, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, to help keep travelers safe during the pandemic.

High-profile Orlando attorney John Morgan has taken to social media to offer his firm’s services to get involved with the state’s troubled unemployment system.

In a video posted on his Facebook page, Morgan asked the Florida governor to allow Morgan & Morgan to go after the company that sold Florida the $77 million computer system it uses to process unemployment claims and payments, known as CONNECT.

“If someone sold you a car that didn’t work, what would you do?” Morgan said in the video. “It’s called lemons. We were sold a lemon.”

Morgan said he wouldn’t charge the state anything for his firm’s work, and any recouped money should go to the unemployed.

It’s not clear if Morgan has entered talks with the governor to begin the recouping process, or if DeSantis will accept Morgan’s offer.

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