ORLANDO, Fla. – For the 10th straight day, Florida reported fewer than 5,000 new coronavirus cases but saw a spike in both deaths and hospitalizations.
The downward trend in cases comes as local school districts are now tasked with the decision to continue with reopening plans or to limit the use of brick-and-mortar schools.
The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday reported 2,673 new infections across the state. Since the virus was first detected on March 1 in Florida, FDOH has recorded 605,502 total cases of coronavirus.
Public health officials are keeping a close eye on new case numbers as students begin the school year. Central Florida school district leaders are relying on the data after a judge ruled the state’s blanket order to require schools to teach students in the classroom during the pandemic is unconstitutional. The judge’s decision allows local school district leaders to determine whether or not it’s safe for them to reopen schools.
Orange and Volusia county school boards will discuss the judge’s ruling Tuesday during a regularly scheduled meeting.
Florida also saw a spike in deaths with the FDOH reporting 183 new fatalities Tuesday, more than double the fatalities reported the day prior. It is important to note that new COVID-19 deaths are often delayed in reporting to the state and newly reported deaths could have occurred within the past few weeks.
Overall, Tuesday’s report shows 10,580 Floridians have died due to the virus and noted 137 people have also passed away within the state. Those numbers mean 10,717 deaths can be attributed to COVID-19 across Florida.
Public health officials are looking to the positivity rate to see if Florida is truly curbing the spread of COVID-19. The positivity rate represents the number of people who tested positive for the first time compared to the overall number of tests reported by the FDOH for the day prior.
For the 12th day in a row, the rate was below 10% in Florida. Tuesday’s report shows the state’s new case positivity rate was 7.43%, a slight rise from Monday’s statistic. Tuesday’s report also reveals a drop in testing with the lowest number of tests administered over the past seven days.
Health officials agree that the positivity rate should be under 10% for two weeks to show infections are on the decline.
Florida also saw a sharp increase in hospitalizations, the FDOH reporting 442 new patients Tuesday. Since March, 37,038 people have been hospitalized in some capacity due to COVID-19.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 4,545 patients currently hospitalized with coronavirus in Florida, according to the state Agency for Healthcare Administration.
Here are three things to know about coronavirus in Central Florida in Central Florida:
- Schools may revisit reopening plans: In a groundbreaking decision Monday, a judge sided with Florida’s largest teachers union ruling that Florida’s mandate to require schools to provide in-person instruction during the coronavirus pandemic is unconstitutional. The judge’s decision now allows school boards to decide whether they want to close brick and mortar schools locally or continue with the plans they have in place. Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins says the board is not making any major decisions just yet as there’s possibility for a stay or appeal to be issued. See how the judge’s ruling is impacting your school district by clicking here.
- Orange County eviction relief portal opens: Orange County residents facing eviction will get a chance to apply for some relief Tuesday morning through the county’s new eviction diversion program. Residents must be at least two months behind on rent and have a documented loss of income due to the coronavirus. Both the renter and the landlord must agree to the program. Funds are first come, first serve. Click here for more information on how to apply.
- COVID-19 cases popping up on Florida campuses: The FDOH 205 students and 342 employees at elementary, middle and high schools tested positive for the virus, but in its latest report that keeps track of coronavirus cases on school and college campuses, the numbers seem inconsistent. The state report says 90 students and 61 employees at universities, colleges, and trade schools have tested positive for the virus across the state, along with four “unknown” cases. Florida State University and the University of Central Florida have reported 42 and 94 positive cases among students, respectively. Universities are recommending students follow the new safety protocols on campus and to keep an eye on what their school is reporting.
Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases across Central Florida as of Aug. 25:
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