As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the Fourth of July holiday nears, some health experts worry that celebrations and a lack of social distancing could spell more trouble as Florida efforts to flatten the coronavirus curve.
On Wednesday morning, the Florida Department of Health reported 6,563 new cases of COVID-19 since the same time the previous day, as well as 45 new Florida-resident deaths and 245 new hospitalizations.
The new statistics bring the total number of coronavirus infections to 158,997 since the virus was first detected in the state on March 1, as well as a total of 3,650 deaths and 14,825 hospitalizations.
On Wednesday, the FDOH began reporting resident and non-resident deaths as separate categories. The state reported a total of 3,550 resident deaths and 100 non-resident deaths Wednesday, for a cumulative total of 3,650 deaths.
“We got a really big state, a lot going on the epidemic is not uniform throughout the state. You know, if you look at what’s happening in Miami Dade that’s different than what will be happening in like an orange county or Volusia mean Orange County,” Gov. DeSantis said during a news conference Wednesday.
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.
[TIMELINE: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]
While the new numbers remain high, the positive results are likely stemming from infections contracted up to two weeks prior, 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.
“I think the median ages range, the daily cases like 28 to 33 or something like that, incredibly young Miami is skewed younger than they were but they’re still, I think in the early 40s. And so, so the shape of it just looks different. So that’s all there’s just a lot going on. And, you know, we’re trying to do the best we can,” DeSantis added.
Some individuals may never experience any symptoms of COVID-19 but may still be positive for the disease, which can lead to asymptomatic spread, health officials warn.
Here’s how coronavirus cases break down locally by county:
|County||Total cases||New cases||Deaths||Hospitalizations||New hospitalizations|
Based on the information released daily by the FDOH, the state report does not include the number of non-residents currently or previously hospitalized.
Looking at the metrics on the FDOH dashboard, Florida also no longer meets the requirements set by the state or White House to qualify for reopening.
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In May, Florida met some of those standards for reopening, but now the state doesn’t meet any according to the FDOH data. You can read more about those reopening qualifications here.
Some cities and counties have taken measures to keep people safe while they may be out trying to enjoy the holiday weekend.
Some health experts have speculated that Florida saw a spike in COVID-19 cases about two weeks after Memorial Day weekend, and want to prevent the same from happening over the long Independence Day weekend as well.
Cocoa Beach city commissioners decided at a special meeting Tuesday that groups at the beach have to be limited to 10 people or less.
The city of Daytona Beach will now require all residents and visitors to wear face coverings while in public places, while Volusia County leaders have decided they will not make face coverings mandatory. Volusia beaches will also remain open during the Independence Day weekend.
In Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, where cases of COVID-19 continue to be diagnosed in large quantities, facial coverings are mandatory, but will not be enforced by penalty.
“I think we all have a responsibility to not put any of our seniors or anybody who’s medically fragile in jeopardy with our own conduct and so I would just tell people, be very cautious with that,” DeSantis said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said he does not plan to make face mask-use mandatory for the entire state. He did, however, extend the temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures in Florida until Aug. 1 as Floridians continue to withstand economic hardships caused by the pandemic. The moratorium has been in effect since April.
“Be conscious of parents and grandparents and the interactions that you may have. You know this thing we’re not, it’s not like everyone’s testing 50 - 60% like we saw in other parts of the country in the world, but we went from four to 5% to now 10 to 15%. So you do see more prevalent so that’s just the bottom line,” DeSantis explained.
On Tuesday, the CDC released an updated list of symptoms those who have COVID-19 may experience.
Here is the latest list of symptoms of coronavirus:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
CDC officials and health experts will continue to update the list as more data is collected on the novel disease.
The CDC also offers an online self-checker for people to see if they should seek a coronavirus test.
Health officials also listed emergency warning signs for COVID-19. Anyone experiencing any of the following symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face