ORLANDO, Fla. – Public health officials in Florida are reporting more than 130 people have recently died in relation to COVID-19, setting a new state record for daily death totals. The new record comes as Central Florida school districts are finalizing back to school plans in the wake of the pandemic.
The Florida Department of Health reported 9,194 new positive coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 291,629 cases since the virus was first detected in March. Public health experts are expecting the state to surpass 300,000 cases before the end of the week.
As athletes and other team members from MLS and the NBA are at Walt Disney World to resume their seasons, Orange County officials clarified their coronavirus testing numbers will impact Central Florida’s statistics. Teams are tested multiple times a week and for every positive test, a teammate must test negative twice to resume activity. This could increase daily testing numbers in Orange County and impact coronavirus data in Florida.
“So we are looking for a solution if it’s technically feasible and possible to desegregate those two data, the one for our general population in the county and the one data for what is happening in Disney in the bubble for MLS and NBA, but that could be very difficult,” Dr. Raul Pino from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said in a regularly scheduled news conference Monday.
“When we get more clarification in the data and if the data change, we will let you know,” he said.
The Florida Department of Health data shows another 383 patients have been admitted to the hospital for coronavirus-related treatment. In Florida, a total of 18,881 patients have received hospital care due to the virus. The state is now releasing numbers on currently hospitalized patients, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration dashboard shows 8,190 people are receiving treatment at medical facilities across the state due to complications with the respiratory illness.
On July 1, the state department of health began reporting resident and non-resident deaths as separate categories. The state reported 132 new resident deaths and 1 new non-resident death in Florida on Tuesday, making for a cumulative total of 133 deaths, the largest number of deaths to happen in a 24-hour period. This brings the overall state death toll to 4,514.
Gov. Ron DeSantis acknowledged Monday that the virus is spreading and urged people to take precautions such as wearing masks in public places, social distancing and avoiding crowds.
“We have to address the virus with steady resolve. We can’t get swept away in fear, we have to understand what is going on, understand that we have a long road ahead but we also have to understand that within the context of the moment,” he said during a press conference in Miami.
Though Florida continues to see thousands of new cases reported daily, parts of Central Florida are continuing with reopening plans.
The Amateur Athletic Union 2020 Junior National Volleyball Championship is expected to bring 17,000 people to the Orlando area Tuesday as the Orange County Convention Center host the event. It marks the first major event OCCC will host since the coronavirus pandemic caused nearly 50 convention cancellations.
Walt Disney World is set to reopen Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Wednesday, following the reopening of two of its other theme parks over the weekend. Across the globe, Hong Kong Disneyland will close its gates again Wednesday after 52 new coronavirus cases were detected in China. Disney says Hong Kong’s park closure will not impact other theme park operations.
Apart from attractions, Central Florida school districts have kicked off summer school programs as school board leaders are finalizing plans for the fall. A number of districts are scheduled to reveal their plans as early as Tuesday.
These large-scale reopenings come as Florida’s daily positivity rate is 15.02%, a jump from a steady decline the state was seeing over the past two days as the statistic hovered around 11%. The positivity rate is the number of new positive cases compared to those tested on a given day.
The governor commented on the previous downward trend of the positive rate of new cases Monday, saying that people should not let their guard down yet.
“We will see if that is a trend or whether that would be something that is short-lived,” he said.
Below is the state dashboard. If you are having trouble viewing the dashboard on mobile, click here.
Here’s a breakdown of coronavirus numbers by county in the Central Florida region:
|County||Total cases||New cases||Deaths||Hospitalizations||New hospitalizations|
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus in Central Florida:
1. Back to school
The Orange County School Board will meet Tuesday to finalize the county’s plan to send students back to school either in-person or virtually next month as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Florida. A new addition to their proposed plan includes pushing back the school year’s start date.
The school board meeting begins at noon. News 6 will be following the latest developments as they happen. Use the link below for updates.
The Seminole County School Board will meet Tuesday to determine the county’s plan to send students back to school either in-person or virtually in August as the state sees a resurgence in coronavirus cases.
Seminole County school leaders will meet for a day-long work session at 8:30 a.m. Following the work session, the school board will then meet at 5 p.m. and are expected to approve the final safety plan for campuses to reopen. The presentation used during the session can be viewed by clicking here.
Tune in to the conversation and keep up with developments using the link below.
The Brevard County School Board would like to see some changes to the school district’s proposed fall reopening plan but is prepared to sign off on it Tuesday, according to a report from news partner Florida Today.
The school board is expected to meet at 9:30 a.m. Use the link below to watch.
Parents in Lake County have until next Monday, July 20, to indicate how they would prefer their children to learn when schools reopen in August amid the coronavirus pandemic. The district extended the original deadline by a week.
Parents have three options to choose from. To learn more about Lake County’s back-to-school plans, click here.
The Marion County School Board unanimously decided to move forward with reopening schools for the fall semester on Aug. 10.
Parents have until Wednesday to decide if their child will attend school in-person with new health and safety guidelines or they can continue their education online.
Learn more about the district’s reopening plans here.
2. MLS and NBA coronavirus testing
Orlando is home to the return of sports, with major leagues like the MLS and the NBA continuing with their seasons at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
Athletes, coaches, personnel and other team members are in what’s been dubbed “the bubble,” unable to visit friends or family while they have close contact with other league members for training, tournaments and games.
Both leagues have strict medical protocols when it comes to coronavirus hoping to mitigate the spread as athletes return to play. Individuals will be tested multiple times a week and in some cases daily, including before games.
With hundreds of tests being administered on the Disney property a week, Orange County public health officials are concerned it can skew the county’s positivity rate and coronavirus data.
With an increase in testing and thousands of non-residents living in Florida for a month or longer, the leagues’ safety protocols will likely impact Florida’s numbers.
The MLS is back tournament is set to wrap up Aug. 8. The NBA started its season at the end of July.
To learn more about each league’s testing protocols, click here.
3. Financial assistance through CARES Act funding
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced he is not optimistic the county will be able to accept more applicants through its Individual and Family Assistance portal after it was quickly overwhelmed by residents seeking financial assistance Monday for the fifth and possibly final time.
The portal reopened Monday at 8 a.m. and reached its 10,000-user capacity minutes later. The program allocated $36.5 million to help 30,000 families. Demings said 21,000 applications have already been approved and allocating $21 million to be paid out to families in need.
Flagler County leaders have ironed out plans to use the $20 million it received in federal funds.
During Monday’s meeting, county leaders said $10 million will go toward supporting small businesses with 100 employees or fewer. They also plan to allocate $5 million to families in need. Officials are testing out the proposed process first before rolling out applications.
4. Voting during COVID-19
A number of Central Florida counties are preparing for Aug. 18 primary elections with Supervisor of Elections Offices hard at work making sure the voting process is safe, sanitized and secure as people may choose to head to the polls during the coronavirus pandemic.
Voters have until next Monday to update their voter registration information, with early voting kicking off the first week of August.
Supervisors of Elections continue to promote voting by mail-in ballot to make sure people can have their voices heard and risk minimal exposure. Their offices are still preparing for upcoming elections with enhanced safety protocols and strict procedures when voters head to polls to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.