Florida sees 1,204 new coronavirus cases as unemployment steadies statewide
Universal Orlando presents reopening plan to orange County leaders Thursday
As Universal Orlando plans to seek the Orange County mayor’s approval for plans to reopen, unemployment claims in Florida have stabilized from week-to-week, according to the latest U.S. Labor Department numbers released Thursday. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic’s death toll in Florida reached 2,144 and new cases of the virus saw a spike, according to the Florida’s Department of Health’s dashboard.
As of Thursday, Florida health officials are reporting 1,204 new cases and 48 new deaths since the same time the day prior. The new cases are a significant increase compared to previous days this week. On Wednesday, the state reported more than 500 new cases.
The new cases bring Florida’s total of COVID-19 cases to 48,675. That figure reflects the number of positive tests since March 1. The state does not report recovery numbers.
As of Thursday, 8,946 people with severe cases of the respiratory illness have required hospitalization. Again, the state does not report current hospitalization numbers, only the overall total since the virus was first confirmed in Florida.
The overall percent positive rate of new cases is 6.1%, which is a significant decrease over last month’s, which was closer to 10%.
The Labor Department says about 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless claims because of the coronavirus. Another 2.2 million people sought aid under a new federal program for self-employed, contractor and gig workers, who are eligible for jobless benefits for the first time.
The number of Floridians who filed new unemployment claims last week remained almost unchanged from the previous week, suggesting some stabilization in job losses as Florida businesses have started reopening after being closed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has received more than two million claims seeking unemployment benefits from Floridians, though only 1.6 million claims have been verified. Just under one million jobless workers in Florida have been paid more than $2.6 billion in benefits.
Many of those waiting on unemployment payments have struggled to get answers from the DEO or state officials.
In Central Florida, Orange County officials will hear out Universal Orlando executives Thursday on their plans to reopen theme parks in Central Florida amid the coronavirus.
Theme parks both large and small in Orange County need Mayor Jerry Demings’ endorsement before their plans can be submitted to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office to be considered for reopening.
On the Space Coast, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex announced plans to reopen at a reduced capacity beginning next week.
Below is a breakdown of cases in the region by county:
In Brevard County, two NASA astronauts arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center ahead of their launch on a Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. The historic event is likely to draw large crowds of spectators, including President Donald Trump. In a round table in Orlando Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence confirmed he will be there and Trump is also hoping to watch in person.
Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the Transportation Security Administration has implemented changes to the way it screens passengers given the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. See what you can expect the next time you fly here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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