ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida continues to stay on course for something resembling a new normal amid a global pandemic following a weekend of football and bars beginning to reopen.
After reporting the lowest new coronavirus deaths since mid-June on Sunday, 24 hours later the Florida Department of Health confirmed 36 people died recently from the respiratory illness.
The new fatalities from the virus bring Florida’s COVID-19 death toll to 12,800 since March, that includes 158 non-residents who died while in the Sunshine State.
On Monday, the DOH reported 1,736 people have tested positive for coronavirus for the first time out of more than 47,000 tests. With the new cases, Florida has now reported 665,730 cases of the virus in the past six months.
The number of patients in Florida hospitals with COVID-19 dropped below 3,000 last week and as of Monday morning, there are 2,615 virus hospitalizations around the state, according to the state Agency for Healthcare Administration. The AHCA, which oversees all health care facilities, has a running database of current COVID-19 hospitalizations whereas the DOH only reports total hospitalizations. There were 77 new people who required hospital care due to the virus on Monday, according to the DOH, bringing the total of hospitalized virus patients to 41,374 since March 1.
The state positivity rate -- the number of people who tested positive for the first time compared to overall tests -- was 3.91%. The last time Florida reported a rate this low was the first week of June.
Here are three things to know about the coronavirus for Sept. 14:
- Florida bars reopen: For the first time since late June, Florida bars that do not serve food will be able to reopen Monday. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation announced last week that bars are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity. In Orange County, the mayor said they will have strike teams out and about at bars to make sure owners and customers are complying with capacity.
- Pandemic disrupts fight against HIV: Clinics have stopped or limited testing for the AIDS virus, and public health officials overwhelmed by demands to control COVID-19 have shifted staff away from tracking HIV patients. Progress against HIV had already stalled in recent years. Now, health experts and HIV advocates worry the country is at risk of backsliding, with a spike in new HIV infections. The issue is of particular concern in the South, which has been a focus of the Trump administration’s goal to eradicate the disease by 2030.
- Central Florida schools reopen: Students at two Central Florida schools returned to the classroom Monday after closing following multiple positive COVID-19 cases on the campuses. Harmony Middle School closed for two weeks beginning Aug. 28 after 10 staff members tested positive. District officials said 650 students and staff switched to digital learning during the closure. In Brevard County, students at Golfview Elementary are returning to school Monday after almost two weeks of e-learning. The district announced on Sept. 1 it was closing the school. District officials would not say how many COVID cases were reported, only saying it was a “low number.”
Below is a breakdown of coronavirus cases in the Central Florida region:
Three counties in Central Florida reported new fatalities Monday including Brevard, Flagler and Marion counties. No single county reported more then 75 new cases in the past 24 hours.
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