Florida reports nearly 10,000 new COVID-19 cases but positivity rate shows first signs of slowing

Florida reports 333 new hospitalizations, Central Florida hospitals say they have capacity

A cutout photo of late actor James Dean wears a mask in front of a gift shop along Miami Beach, Florida's famed South Beach, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Beaches in Miami-Dade County reopened Tuesday after being closed July 3 through 6 to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb across the state Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended Florida’s state of emergency order while health officials work to curb the spread of the novel virus.

DeSantis signed an executive order extending the state of emergency, which was first declared on March 9, just days after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in Florida.

[Timeline: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]

The state of emergency was extended in mid-May before Tuesday’s order, which extended it another 60 days.

On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health reported 9,989 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 333 new hospitalizations.

The new statistics bring the total number of coronavirus cases since the disease was first detected in the state on March 1 to 223,783, with 16,758 total hospitalizations. Florida has yet to report current hospitalizations only the overall total.

On July 1, the Florida Department of Health began reporting resident and non-resident deaths as separate categories. The state reported 48 new resident deaths and zero new non-resident deaths in Florida on Wednesday, for a cumulative total of 3,889 resident deaths and 102 non-resident deaths.

An important factor to watch is the state’s rate of new daily positive cases compared to the number of people tested per day. With the new cases reported as of Wednesday morning, Florida’s daily positivity rate was 14.15%. According to the DOH testing numbers, for the first time in three days that daily rate decreased by two points.

As new cases continue to be reported by the thousands, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration hospital bed census shows that Central Florida largest hospitals are out of adult intensive care unit beds and running low on regular hospital beds. However, local hospitals say they can increase their capacity to meet coronavirus demand should the need arise.

Hospitals in both Orange and Seminole counties are reporting ICU bed shortages, according to the AHCA but hospital officials at Orlando Health and AdventHealth said that additions can be made to accommodate more patients should more beds be needed.

“The current operational bed count is what we report to AHCA and what appears on their website. That number is not Orlando Health’s total bed capacity. Across all of our operations, we have nearly 3,300 beds. Nearly 200 of those are ICU beds and we have the capacity to surge up to 500 ICU beds if it becomes necessary,” Orlando Health Director of Public Affairs Kena Lewis said in an email. “We are carefully monitoring the increases in patient volumes. If the need for additional beds grows, Orlando Health will re-open units and make other necessary adjustments in order to meet the needs of the community.”

[READ MORE: Central Florida’s largest hospitals out of ICU beds but say they can scale up if COVID-19 demand increases]

Here’s how cases of COVID-19 break down locally by Central Florida county:

CountyTotal casesNew casesTotal hospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeaths

The Environmental Protection Agency released a new study that will prove helpful in combating the spread of COVID-19.

According to the EPA, the agency is starting to approve surface disinfectant products tested on the coronavirus.

The agency said that it’s approved two products, Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, based on laboratory testing that shows the products are effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The EPA said that it expects to approve such claims for additional products in the coming weeks, the Associated Press reported.

Wearing a face mask, washing your hands and social distancing are still the best ways to avoid the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

While many people who contract COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms, across the U.S. more than 130,000 people have died as a result of the respiratory illness.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.

About the Authors:

Erin began her career at News 6 as an assignment editor, then became a show producer. She is now a digital storyteller as part of the Click Orlando team.