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Unemployment hits record high as COVID-19 continues to infect, kill Floridians

Total cases reported across state approach 40,000

A pedestrian walks by The Framing Gallery, closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Grosse Pointe, Mich., Thursday, May 7, 2020. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that auto and other manufacturing workers can return to the job next week, further easing her stay-at-home order while extending it through May 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
A pedestrian walks by The Framing Gallery, closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Grosse Pointe, Mich., Thursday, May 7, 2020. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that auto and other manufacturing workers can return to the job next week, further easing her stay-at-home order while extending it through May 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

As Florida wraps up its first week under phase one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan, cases of coronavirus across the state continue to rise.

As of early Friday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health reported a total of 39,199 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the respiratory illness was first detected in the state on March 1. The FDOH also reports 1,669 total deaths as a result of complications with coronavirus.

[READ MORE: When did coronavirus first appear in Florida?]

Since Thursday, there were 371 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the FDOH, and 69 new deaths.

Nearly 7,000 people have been hospitalized due to the respiratory illness since the beginning of March. The state does not report current hospitalization numbers.

Here is how cases of COVID-19 break down locally by county in Central Florida:

CountyCasesHospitalizationsDeaths
Brevard326509
Flagler147153
Lake2375914
Marion202295
Orange1,47826635
Osceola55413512
Polk60120131
Seminole4109410
Sumter2394114
Volusia5379628

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs were stolen from Americans by the COVID-19 pandemic, creating the worst monthly job loss level on record.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its unemployment report Friday morning and the findings were dire.

According to that report, the number of unemployed persons across the country rose by 15.9 million to 23.1 million in April.

BLS reported that all major working groups saw major amounts of job loss.

[TIMELINE: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]

“The rate was 13.0 percent for adult men, 15.5 percent for adult women, 31.9 percent for teenagers, 14.2 percent for Whites, 16.7 percent for Blacks, 14.5 percent for Asians, and 18.9 percent for Hispanics. The rates for all of these groups, with the exception of Blacks, represent record highs for their respective series,” the report read.

To read the full report by BLS, click the link here.

The tourism industry in Central Florida continues to feel the impact of theme park closures due to the pandemic.

SeaWorld released its quarterly results report Friday morning, and statistics show that, just like Disney and Universal, the park took a major blow to both attendance and earnings in its first-quarter from January 1 to March 31.

SeaWorld reported a loss in attendance of a million guests over the period, comparing numbers to 2.3 million guests from the first quarter of 2019.

The park’s total revenue decreased by $67 million, to $153.6 million, from the first quarter of 2019, according to park officials.

Officials reported the theme park’s net loss increased by $19.5 million, to $56.5 million, from the first quarter of 2019.

SeaWorld closed its doors to guests March 16 but said animal care experts would continue to look after the health and well being of the animals inside.

On March 27 SeaWorld Entertainment Co. announced that it will furlough 90% of its workers without compensation.

Workers were temporarily furloughed without pay beginning April 1. Those employees were eligible for unemployment benefits.

SeaWorld officials did not say how long it expects parks to stay closed or when workers would be able to return.

[READ MORE: SeaWorld earnings, attendance plunge as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on tourism industry]

And while it is unclear when SeaWorld will reopen to welcome guests again, Disney Springs, which has been closed for more than a month due to the coronavirus pandemic, announced it will begin slowly reopening on May 20.

The news came Thursday via a Walt Disney World blog post. It didn’t include details on which shops and restaurants will be among the first to open.

Come May 20, guests can expect reduced hours, parking and capacity in order to keep in line with social distancing rules.

Universal Studios also appears to be in the process of gauging guests’ comfortability level with returning to its parks.

Universal Parks and Resorts sent out a reopening survey to passholders, officials said they want feedback about how they can welcome guests to the parks safely when the time comes.

“What is it going to take to make the team members comfortable and what is it going to take to make the guests comfortable," said Duncan Dickson, University of Central Florida professor of theme park management.

Universal parks have been closed since the middle of March.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter or go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.


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