The tides have turned Thursday as anyone visiting the tri-state area from Florida now must quarantine due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases here in the last several weeks.
Following an all-time high number of new infections Wednesday, more than 5,500 new cases, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced travelers from states with high coronavirus infection rates will need to go into quarantine for 14 days.
Travelers from more than a half-dozen states, including Florida and Texas, are currently impacted. The travel advisory began Thursday.
For the second day, Florida health officials reported more than 5,000 new positive COVID-19 test results.
As of Thursday morning, the Florida Department of Health dashboard showed 5,004 new cases and 46 new fatalities. These new numbers bring Florida’s death toll since March to 3,327 and the number of infections to 114,018.
Florida also reported 201 new hospitalizations due to the virus on Thursday. More than 13,775 people with COVID-19 have required hospitalization since March.
In Central Florida, officials in Volusia, Orange and Seminole counties are urging residents to be vigilant as new cases continue to grow, particularly in younger age groups which is a trend being seen nationwide.
Although every age group saw an increase in COVID-19 infections weeks after the first states began their reopening process, new cases shot up fastest among 18-to-49-year-olds. The chart below shows national COVID-19 cases by age group as of June 24.
More than half of the total coronavirus cases in Orange County have been diagnosed in the last two weeks, according to Dr. Raul Pino with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.
“What happened two to three weeks before the 11th was Memorial Day weekend,” Pino said. “Since Memorial Day, we have a very, very active transmission in our community.”
Seminole County has been under an executive order for months requiring those with the virus to remain inside their home, however, according to county leaders, some have chosen to not follow the order.
“If a COVID positive individual with symptoms is even driving around our community going to stores and things like that -- that’s very, very dangerous,” Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said.
Dr. Todd Husty, Seminole County Medical Director, said the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases was major cause for concern.
“It’s a disaster. That’s my professional opinion. We’re headed to disaster,” Husty said. “It’s going to take everybody doing the right thing. We know what stops the virus. Heck, we were almost there. We were almost at zero in Seminole County.”
Husty said that it will be a community effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, and that closing the state down again may not be a feasible option going forward.
“We have to go backwards a little bit. Don’t want to close down businesses. Don’t want to do that ever again. But there are other ways of doing it,” Husty said. “We know that facial covering and social distancing and washing works. And I think all those people out there trying to get tests, they know it too. So there’s a big glimmer of hope.”
While Orange and Osceola counties have mask mandates in place, other local leaders may also soon require face coverings. The Daytona Beach mayor is pushing for a mask mandate after a rise in cases in Volusia County.
The Volusia County Jail reported its first three coronavirus cases this week cases prompting lockdown procedures at the facility. Marion and Lake counties have also reported cases in jail facilities.
New deaths were reported in Orange and Polk counties Thursday.
Here’s a breakdown of COVID-19 cases in the Central Florida region:
|County||Total cases||New cases||Deaths||Hospitalizations||New hospitalizations|
The U.S. unemployment rate saw minimal improvements, according to the latest Department of Labor reports. The unemployment rate dropped half a point to 13.4%.
According to The Associated Press, the number of laid-off workers across the country who applied for unemployment benefits declined slightly to 1.48 million last week, the 12th straight drop and a sign that layoffs are slowing but are still at a painfully high level.
Economists project that if cases of COVID-19 continue to spike across the US, states may reimpose some limits on businesses that would likely trigger job cuts, AP reported. Whether by choice or by government order, fewer consumers would shop, travel, eat out and visit bars or gyms. All those scenarios would result in renewed layoffs and hinder the economy.
Florida saw more than 93,000 new unemployment claims in the last week. The state’s Department of Economic Opportunity continues to face backlash as many Floridians say they have not seen their full benefits paid out.
Meanwhile, Disney World is still moving ahead with reopening in Florida on July 11 following the company’s announcement it is postponing the mid-July reopening of its Southern California theme parks until it receives guidelines from the state.
Disney had hoped to reopen Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim on July 17 after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus. But the state has indicated it won’t issue guidelines until after July 4, the company said.
Disney resorts in Shanghai and Hong Kong already reopened.
U.S. health officials have said life won’t go back to normal until there is a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Globally more than 9.4 million people have contracted the respiratory illness and more than 482,000 have died as a result.
COVID-19 vaccine development efforts are ongoing in about a dozen countries, including Britain, China and the U.S. Who gets the vaccine first will depend on where the first effective vaccine is developed.
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said he is cautiously optimistic there will be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year or early 2021.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.