ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida is on track to surpass 150,000 infections this week, after reporting more than 40,000 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus in the past five days.
Days ahead of the July Fourth holiday, some Florida coastal county leaders have closed beaches to prevent large crowds from gathering. Most fireworks shows, including in Central Florida, have also been canceled to keep people from gathering.
Locally, Brevard, Flagler and Volusia leaders have not announced closures ahead of the holiday weekend. Officials in Volusia County said Monday they don’t plan to close beaches in the near future.
As of Monday morning, the Florida Department of Health was reporting 5,266 new positive cases bringing the statewide total to 146,341. The state saw a 110 person increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 bringing the total to 14,354 since March. Florida does not report current hospitalization numbers or recovery numbers.
The drop in new positive cases may sound like a good sign but about half as many people were tested Sunday as in previous days. The prior three days saw testing numbers at or above 60,000 for state or private lab testing.
Florida’s positivity rate, the number of new cases compared to the number of people tested, was above 17% Monday.
Florida has lost 3,447 people to the virus in the past four months. On Monday, the state reported 28 additional deaths contributing to the death toll.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has attributed the large increase in new COVID-19 cases to younger, healthier residents. The largest age group with positive cases is 25-34 years old, according to the DOH.
DeSantis said Sunday that social interaction among young people are driving the surge in cases, saying “caution was thrown to the wind” by bars and pubs that were not following mandated guidelines. Medical experts around the state are worried that younger people could infect at-risk groups including older relatives who can get more severely sick with COVID-19.
Florida is in phase two of DeSantis’ reopening plan. Last week, amid a spike in new cases, the governor said Florida is not ready for phase three.
DeSantis has said he does not plan to implement a state-wide mandatory face mask requirement. Local leaders around the state have issued their own orders including, Osceola and Brevard counties. This week Brevard County commissioners will hear a proposal to require face masks. Commissioner Brian Lober said he introduced the policy proposal after speaking with hospital executives and medical experts.
Jacksonville became the latest local government to implement a mask mandate beginning Monday evening. The city is scheduled to host the Republic National Convention in August.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees alcohol licenses, banned on-site alcohol sales at bars, once again, around the state beginning June 26.
Once again, people lined up at the Orange County Convention Center Monday to get tested for COVID-19. The state-run testing site has seen an increasing demand with the rise in cases. However, there are dozens of options in the Central Florida area to get tested that don’t require a wait if you have health insurance and time to make an appointment.
CVS Pharmacy announced last week that COVID-19 testing sites would be coming to 38 of its Florida locations, two of which opened locally in Central Florida.
In Central Florida, Orange County surpassed 10,000 cases since the pandemic arrived in Florida. One thing to note is that while all 10 counties in the region reported new cases, there were very few hospitalizations reported Monday.
Below is the breakdown of coronavirus cases in Central Florida by county:
|County||Total cases||New cases||Deaths||Hospitalizations||New hospitalizations|
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.