ORLANDO, Fla. – As the school year swiftly approaches, in a few days for some, Florida health officials continue to report thousands of new positive coronavirus cases and deaths in the Sunshine State.
The question on many parents’ minds is undoubtedly, is it safe to send my children to school?
Evidence suggests young children don’t spread the disease very easily, while kids aged 10 and up may transmit as easily as adults. But experts say more conclusive proof is needed.
And even though children appear less likely to get infected than adults, and less likely to become seriously ill when they do, severe cases and deaths have occurred.
Children and teens often show mild or no symptoms when infected. That means they could unknowingly pose a risk to other students — who may pass the virus on to their parents and grandparents — or to teachers and other adults who might be vulnerable to severe illness if infected.
On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health reported 7,650 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Florida to 510,389. The total number is a running total since the virus was first detected in Florida in March.
On Thursday, the positivity rate for the number of people who tested positive for the first time, compared to the overall tests, declined to 8.34%. Health officials agree the rate should be below 10% to show infections are decreasing.
While the reporting of coronavirus deaths are delayed by days and sometimes weeks, state and public health leaders say an additional 120 people have recently died from the virus. Their deaths raise the overall count to 7,871 that number includes 124 non-residents who died in Florida.
Across the state, 7,348 people are currently hospitalized with severe cases of the virus, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration’s report. The FDOH’s coronavirus dashboard reveals 29,131 amount of people have been hospitalized due to complications with COVID-19 since March, an increase of 558 patients since the last time the state released the total 24 hours ago.
Here are three things to know for today, Aug. 5. To read more click or tap on the blue headline.
- Symptomatic testing lanes: In an effort to reduce the turnaround time for results, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that all state-supported COVID-19 testing sites will soon have lanes specifically for people experiencing symptoms. With more symptomatic testing lanes across the state, the governor said those who are feeling ill should be able to get their results in two or three days. These changes will take effect Wednesday at the Orange County Convention Center.
- Delaying school year: The Florida Education Association filed an emergency hearing on Aug. 3 to block reopening brick and mortar schools while a lawsuit against the state is pending. On July 20, the Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Education. The association accused the state of violating a constitutional requirement for safe and secure schools.
- Parents of Central Florida students can find everything they need to know about their district’s back-to-school plan at ClickOrlando.com/backtoschool.
- Can Central Florida bars open safely?: The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation wrapped up a week of meetings with Central Florida brewery owners and bar owners in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Pensacola, Tampa, and Ft. Myers, meant to help mold a new plan for reopening bars. Gov. DeSantis initially stopped bars and nightclubs from serving alcohol for on-site consumption as part of an emergency order on March 20 that was aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. The order was lifted on June 5 in all but South Florida, which has been hit hardest by the pandemic.
Here’s a breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Central Florida:
On Thursday, new deaths were reported in Brevard, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia counties.
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The Associated Press contributed to this story.