As Florida inches closer to reopening schools and sees guests headed back to theme parks, the state continues to report cases of COVID-19 by the thousands.
The Florida Department of Health reported 10,181 new positive coronavirus cases Wednesday, as well as 453 new hospitalizations, with a positivity rate of 13.59% for new reported cases compared to those tested.
In Florida, a total of 19,334 patients have been hospitalized due to severe cases of the respiratory illness. The state is now releasing numbers on currently hospitalized patients, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration dashboard shows 8,276 people are currently receiving treatment at medical facilities across the state due to complications from COVID-19 as of 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.
The new statistics bring Florida’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 301,810 since the disease was first detected in the state on March 1.
On July 1, the FDOH began reporting resident and non-resident deaths as separate categories. The state reported 112 new resident deaths and zero new non-resident deaths in Florida on Wednesday, making for a cumulative total of 4,521 COVID-19 related resident deaths and 105 non-resident deaths, bringing the overall state death toll to 4,617.
Below is the state dashboard. If you are having trouble viewing the dashboard on mobile, click here.
As the state continues to report new cases of the coronavirus, school districts across Florida are making decisions about how they will keep students safe when campuses reopen.
The Seminole County School Board approved a plan on Tuesday to send students back to school in August, but decided to delay the start date from Aug. 10 to Aug. 17.
Under the approved plan, Seminole County parents will have a choice of how their child will be educated when classes resume. The choices range from the traditional in-class, face-to-face learning to completely virtual, with hybrid choices in between.
Parents will need to decide which course of action they plan to take by July 24 or their child will be automatically placed in a physical classroom.
The Orange County School Board decided Tuesday to delay a vote on reopening campuses for this upcoming school year until a board meeting at 9 a.m. Friday. The delayed vote will allow the superintendent and school board to research the different options after hearing hours of public comment on Tuesday.
The Orange County School Board has laid out three options for students for the upcoming academic year: face-to-face learning, virtual school or innovative learning that will involve online classes that follow the same schedule as on-campus classes.
[MORE DETAILS: Orange County School Board delays vote on reopening campuses]
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.
Lake County Schools is offering different learning options for families ahead of the school year, which includes traditional in-school learning, full-time online learning through Lake County Virtual School and modified-day learning.
The original deadline was July 13, but school officials on Monday extended it by a week.
Marion County schools will reopen Aug. 10 with two learning options for students in-person learning with new health and safety guidelines or online schooling.
Through the online program, students will be enrolled in their current school and will have to follow the same bell schedule as students who are in the classroom. Their classes will also be taught by teachers at their particular school.
All but Osceola and Sumter counties reported new deaths from the virus on Wednesday, according to the Department of Health.
Here’s how cases of COVID-19 break down by Central Florida county:
|County||Total cases||New cases||Total hospitalizations||New hospitalizations||Deaths|
As of Wednesday morning, all four of Walt Disney World’s theme parks are officially open to guests as Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios welcomed back parkgoers.
On Saturday, Walt Disney World opened up the first two of its four theme parks, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
Hand sanitizer stations have been placed around the park, and physical distancing cues and guidelines could be seen on the ground.
Alongside the sanitizing stations and social distance cues, Disney is also requiring all guests 2 years of age and older, along with cast members, to wear an appropriate face covering while visiting the parks.
Legoland will also now require all guests over the age of eight to wear face masks while at the park.
The change in policy came Tuesday as Winter Haven, the city in which Legoland is located, enacted an emergency ordinance that requires “every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of Winter Haven” to wear a face mask in any indoor space, other than an individual’s home, when social distancing is not possible.
Previously, the theme park strongly recommended and encouraged face masks to be worn inside the park, but the use of face coverings will now be mandatory.
“Facial coverings are required in all indoor locations across the resort as well as on all rides in the Theme park for all guests eight (8) years and older. While at our resort, we recommend and encourage guests to bring and wear masks for everyone’s safety but we will have disposable masks available, including kid’s sizes, for pick-up on-site as well. For the water park, masks are only recommended for use when they are dry,” park officials said on the theme park’s website.