As many Floridians wait for further guidance as to when Gov. Ron DeSantis will give the green light for phase two of his reopening plan to take effect, cases of coronavirus continue to rise.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health reported 479 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 48 new deaths since Tuesday.
These new statistics bring the total cases of coronavirus reported in the state since March 1 to 42,402 and brings the total number of deaths related to the respiratory illness to 1,827.
According to the FDOH coronavirus dashboard, there have also been a total of 7,418 severe cases of the virus that required hospitalization.
Here’s how COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations break down by Central Florida county:
|County||Total cases||Total hospitalizations||Total deaths|
There is no timeline for when DeSantis may give his approval for the state to move into phase two of reopening. Phase one, which involved opening restaurants and stores at limited capacity, began May 4.
However, the rules and stipulations set for phase one were quickly amended by the governor who allowed hair salons, barbershops and nail salons to reopen on Monday after pushback from business owners. These businesses were initially to remain closed until phase two.
[INTERACTIVE MAP: Here’s where to get your drive-thru coronavirus test]
“Phase 2 will begin after the successful conclusion of Phase 1, which includes a downward trajectory of the syndromic and epidemiology criteria while maintaining adequate health care capacity. This will occur when there is no evidence of a rebound or resurgence of COVID-19 cases and satisfies the benchmarks outlined in this Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. plan,” documents from the governor’s office read.
Click here to see a breakdown of changes Floridians will likely see under phase two of DeSantis’ reopening plan.
As small business find their economic footing as COVID-19 guidelines loosen, leaders in Volusia County are offering businesses a boost in the form of a $3,000 grant.
The county will open the application window later this week for a $10 million grant program to help small businesses financially recover from weeks of closures, according to a news release.
Local businesses that meet the grant criteria, including those with no more than 25 full-time employees or the equivalent number of part-time employees, can qualify for a one-time, $3,000 grant under the program, county leaders said.
Among other qualifications, to be eligible for the grant businesses must certify that they suffered a financial impact of at least $3,000 due to COVID-19 and that the loss wasn’t reimbursed by insurance or some other government assistance program, according to county leaders.
Wednesday at noon marked the deadline for Americans to provide the IRS with direct deposit information to allow Economic Impact Payment stimulus checks be deposited directly into bank accounts.
Those who missed the deadline or did not wish to provide the information to the IRS will have to wait for a physical paper copy of the check to be mailed.
According to the IRS, about 130 million payments have been sent out thus far, but the agency said it will transition to sending primarily paper checks to deliver the remaining stimulus payments later this month.
Millions of Americans should receive checks starting at $1,200, with more money being added for those who have children under 17. The IRS must print and mail paper checks to Americans who did not file taxes electronically.