ORLANDO, Fla. – Friday marked two weeks since the state entered phase 2 of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan, and the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases continue to worry health experts.
On Friday, the Florida Department of Health reported 3,822 new COVID-19 cases since approximately the same time the day prior, as well as 43 new deaths.
The new statistics bring the total number of reported COVID-19 cases in Florida since the disease was first reported in the state on March 1 to 89,748 with 3,104 deaths.
Current hospitalization numbers were not immediately available on the FDOH dashboard.
On Thursday, Florida saw its second-largest jump in newly reported cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 3,207 new cases reported.
Researchers worry that this upward trend in cases could spell long-term trouble for Florida, and possibly even indicate that the state could become the next epicenter for a mass COVID-19 outbreak.
According to projections from a model by scientists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, Florida has been waving red flags that could predict even more COVID-19 cases to come, CNN reported.
“That makes me very worried because, at the numbers they’re now seeing, it’s very easy to start doubling and lose control of the epidemic,” Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told CNN on Thursday.
News 6 broke down the positivity rates for COVID-19 testing in the Central Florida region and found that there was a pronounced increase in the coronavirus test positivity rate from just the day before.
The state of Florida saw a 12.55% daily positive rate for coronavirus on Thursday. The rate on Wednesday was 10.25%. On Tuesday, it was 9.24%.
This is the highest daily positive rate for COVID-19 tests in the month of June.
The state does not report the number of current patients in hospitals with the coronavirus, but rather the overall total. The state also does not share the number of individuals who have recovered from the disease after being diagnosed.
The newly reported cases also depend on the number of tests administered per day, but the state doesn’t release private lab testing in its overall total, so that percentage is difficult to determine.
[TIMELINE: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]
Nearly every day over the past two weeks, Florida has seen large increases of reported coronavirus cases, with some days seeing a rise in reported infections that rival numbers when the disease first hit the state in early March.
While the new numbers remain high, the positive results are likely stemming from infections up to two weeks previous, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that the coronavirus has an incubation period of two to 14 days before symptoms become apparent, if at all.
Some individuals may never experience any symptoms of COVID-19 but may still be positive for the disease, which can lead to asymptomatic spread.
Here’s how coronavirus cases break down locally by county:
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On Thursday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings issued a county-wide executive order that will require everyone to wear a face mask while out in public beginning Saturday morning.
Under Demings’ order, “every person working, living, visiting or doing business in Orange County,” will be required to wear face coverings consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, while in any public space.
The mandate goes into effect Saturday, June 20 at 12:01 a.m. and will be in place until further notice.
Orange County saw an increase of 374 more COVID-19 cases reported from Thursday into Friday.
The executive order will not be enforced through fines, the mayor said, adding that he wants this mandate to be effective through “voluntary compliance.”
News 6 reached out to the 9 other counties in Central Florida to ask leaders if they will be following Demings lead and enforcing face mask use. So far, Marion, Lake, Sumter, Brevard, Volusia and Flagler counties have all said they will not require mask use, while Osceola County leaders said mandated face mask use has been in effect since April.
With face masks now a requirement in some areas, it’s a good time to brush up on mask etiquette and the proper way to wear them.
News 6 talked to the experts about what types of masks are most effective, how they should be worn and got a breakdown of the science behind the preventative measure. Click here for everything you need to know about wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.