Ahead of a long holiday weekend, some counties and cities across Central Florida are tightening safety guidelines and instituting face mask mandates to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health reported a record-breaking 10,109 new cases of COVID-19 since the same time the day before, as well as 67 new Florida-resident deaths, 1 new non-resident death, and 325 new hospitalizations.
The new statistics bring the total number of coronavirus infections to 169,106 since the virus was first detected in the state on March 1, as well as a total of 3,617 resident deaths and 15,150 hospitalizations.
On Wednesday, the FDOH began reporting resident and non-resident deaths as separate categories. The state reported a total of 3,617 resident deaths and 101 non-resident deaths Thursday, for a cumulative total of 3,718 deaths.
The new method of reporting COVID-19 related deaths across the state comes as Sen. Linda Stewart tweeted Wednesday that the state may take a new approach to reporting hospitalizations as well.
As of Thursday, the state does not report the number of current patients in hospitals with the coronavirus, but rather the overall total since the virus was detected in the state. The FDOH also does not share the number of individuals who have recovered from the disease after being diagnosed, however, this may soon change according to Stewart.
⚠️COVID-19 🦠 🚨 Florida will start reporting current Covid-19 hospitalization for the first time in the “next few days,” potentially adding an important new data set as the state faces a dramatic resurgence of the virus.#SD13 #District13https://t.co/Ikz3sqGGJc— Linda Stewart (@LindaStewartFL) July 1, 2020
Here’s how cases of coronavirus break down locally by Central Florida county:
|County||Total cases||New cases||Total hospitalizations||New hospitalizations||Deaths|
Ahead of the Independence Day weekend, some counties and cities are making face masks mandatory for everyone who enters a public space. Many of these mask mandates have no enforcement procedure or penalty for non-compliance and do not apply to those who may have medical conditions that wearing a mask would exacerbate.
The city of New Smyrna Beach approved a face mask mandate Wednesday, following Daytona Beach’s lead. Neither city will enforce mask use with fines or penalties, however. While both cities approved the mandate, Volusia as a whole has not approved required face mask use county-wide.
City officials in DeLand and Titusville are expected to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss the possibilities of issuing a mask order as well.
Osceola, Orange and Seminole counties all require face masks to be worn while in public spaces.
“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,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news conference Wednesday.
While many Americans have canceled their summer vacation plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some are still taking to the skies for the Fourth of July weekend.
A spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration said that officers screened 626,516 people at airports nationwide Wednesday and that the TSA expects Thursday to be the busiest travel day for the holiday weekend.
Allegiant Air is now requiring travelers to wear a face mask for the duration of their flight, while American Airlines resumed booking flights to capacity Wednesday. The airline had previously left a middle seat open between passengers to help distance guests, but airline officials said they would notify travelers if they were booked immediately next to another traveler.
In a brighter spot amid profound economic hardship for many Americans at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Labor reported Thursday that the economy nationwide saw an added 4.8 million jobs in June and a decrease in the national unemployment rate of 11.1%, down from 12.3% the month prior.
[MORE DETAILS: US adds 4.8 million jobs as unemployment falls to 11.1%]
Floridians continue to experience issues and difficulties while trying to apply for unemployment benefits through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Based on the DEO’s dashboard that was updated as of June 30, the state has received 2,569,304 confirmed unique claims for unemployment benefits and has paid 1,604,550 of those claims. The DEO dashboard shows the state has paid $8.3 billion to claimants.