Monday marked a big day for Floridians and many local economies as the state entered what Gov. Ron DeSantis called “full phase one” of his plan to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Under “full phase one” all provisional openings instated on May 4 remain, but some guidelines have loosened and some have been added.
DeSantis said “full phase one” restaurants and retail stores would be able to increase operational capacity, gyms would be able to open at 50% capacity, amusement parks would be able to submit reopening plans for approval and professional sports teams would be allowed to practice in approved venues.
Schools would still need to maintain distance learning under “full phase one” and nursing homes and long-term care facilities would still need to prohibit visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As the state moves towards furthering the reopening process, the Florida Department of Health reported 854 news cases of COVID-19 since Sunday, as well as 24 new deaths.
These new statistics bring the total number of coronavirus cases reported since the disease was first detected in the state from March 1 to 46,442 and the death toll to 1,997.
The FDOH also reported that since the beginning of March, 8,304 Floridians have required hospitalization due to severe cases of the respiratory illness.
The state does not provide information on how many people have recovered from COVID-19.
Here’s how cases of COVID-19 break down locally by county in Central Florida:
|County||Total cases||Total Hospitalizations||Total deaths|
As researchers work towards finding a way to prevent and cure cases of COVID-19, local blood bank OneBlood has announced that they are testing all blood donations for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies.
According to the organization, the antibody testing is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and indicates if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether they ever showed symptoms. Donors will be able to see their results approximately 48 hours after donating by logging into their donor portal at www.oneblood.org.
OneBlood officials said the organization is one of the first blood centers to begin testing for the coronavirus antibody and plans to provide the antibody testing for the foreseeable future, with the intent to provide important statistical information on the presence of COVID-19 antibodies to public health officials.
“OneBlood is working closely with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees M.D., to provide de-identified data on the number of people testing positive and the geographical location. This information will help in decision making for reopening the economy," said Susan Forbes, OneBlood’s senior vice president of corporate communications and public relations.