Florida reports lowest count of new coronavirus cases since June as more schools reopen

State reports 2,678 new cases, 87 new deaths

Leaders plead for patience as school year starts in Seminole county

ORLANDO, Fla. – About 50 schools welcomed students back to campuses across Seminole County Monday morning, becoming the first to re-start face-to-face learning since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Florida.

Less than half of the school district’s students opted in for on-campus learning while the rest are continuing their education virtually through one of several options offered by the county. Students who do return to campus will see changes due to COVID-19, including dividers between desks and all people on campus must wear masks for most of the day.

In Orange County, the school board will hold a special meeting Monday after receiving input from a medical advisory committee made up of doctors, nurses and medical professionals. The committee made several recommendations including delaying the in-person learning start date for middle and high school students.

Seminole and Orange counties, as well as the rest of Florida, continues to prepare for Tuesday’s primary election. In-person voting is still set to happen but many have already voted by mail due to the virus. In Central Florida, top races include the Orange County sheriff, state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties and all school districts have board seats up for grabs. Here’s everything you need to know about Florida’s primary election.

As more school districts will begin welcoming students to campus again, here’s how things stand with the coronavirus in Florida as of Monday, Aug. 17:

The Florida Department of Health reported 2,678 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the state total to 576,094 since March with a positivity rate of 8.25%. The last time Florida reported a lower count of new positive cases was June 17.

For the past five days, the positivity rate of new cases compared to the overall test number has remained below 10%. There are several positivity rates provided by the DOH, some include people who have taken multiple COVID-19 tests, which is why News 6 includes the rate provided by the DOH that excludes people who have previously tested positive. You can view all information about how the rate is determined in the state report here. More than 4.2 million people in Florida have taken some form of a coronavirus test.

Over the weekend, the DOH changed the way it is reporting coronavirus cases in children. Previously, those numbers included ages 0 to 24 years old. The state has now limited pediatric cases to those under 18 years old.

Nearly 50,000 children under 18 years old have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since March, including seven children who have died as a result. In the past two weeks, the state reported nearly 8,000 pediatric cases alone, including 89 children who were hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 complications from Aug. 2 to Aug. 15.

The state is no longer including the number of children who have been hospitalized at some point since March because of the virus.

If you are having trouble viewing the dashboard above on mobile, click here.

Many people who test positive for COVID-19 will have mild or no symptoms at all, which is why it is important to monitor hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the virus.

On Monday, Florida reported 87 new deaths as a result of the virus. Deaths data is delayed in reporting, sometimes by up to two weeks. The state’s death toll from the pandemic is now 9,674.

According to the state Agency for Healthcare Administration, as of Monday afternoon, there were 5,631 patients currently hospitalized with coronavirus in Florida. Earlier in the day, the AHCA dashboard showed more than 7,700 patients, however, the AHCA later corrected the total. An agency spokesperson confirmed a data entry error was the cause of the discrepancy.

The Florida Department of Health reported 266 new hospitalizations on Monday, bringing the overall total to 34,194 since March. The DOH reports overall totals of COVID-19 hospitalizations but not current numbers, only the AHCA provides those numbers.

In Central Florida, new deaths were reported in Lake, Marion and Polk counties on Monday. New hospitalizations were also low, in the single digits for all 10 counties in the region. Only Orange County broke more than 100 new cases, according to the DOH data.

Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases across Central Florida as of Aug. 17:

CountyCase totalNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths

Editor’s note: The numbers and data referenced in this story are publicly available on the Florida Department of Health website here and on the AHCA dashboard here.

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