ORLANDO, Fla. – More than 3.7 million Floridians have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus economic downfall began, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday, claims have been on a downward trend for the past several weeks but remain historically high for the Sunshine State and around the country.
The economy and job market have recovered somewhat from the initial shock but the recovery remains fragile, imperiled by continuing COVID-19 infections as schools reopen, and no agreement on another economic rescue package in Washington.
On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health reported 3,255 people have tested positive for coronavirus for the first time. With the new cases, the state has now reported 674,456 cases of the virus since March and has tested more than 5 million Floridians.
The Florida Department of Health confirmed Thursday 147 people died recently from the respiratory illness. The new fatalities from the virus bring Florida’s COVID-19 death toll to 13,247 since March, which includes 161 people who don’t live in Florida but died while in the Sunshine State.
As of Thursday morning, there are 2,382 people currently hospitalized with the virus 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 196 new people who required hospital care due to the virus on Thursday, according to the DOH, bringing the total of hospitalized virus patients to 42,047 since March 1.
Here are three things to know about the coronavirus for Sept. 17:
- Canceled high school football games: After requiring all Orange County players and coaching staff to get tested for the coronavirus prior to game day, Orange County Public Schools officials said the Evans High School and West Orange High School game has been canceled due to positive test results. The district said five positive coronavirus cases resulted in the quarantine of players, coaches and trainers with Evans High School.
- US jobless claims fall but remain historically high: The Labor Department said Thursday that U.S. jobless claims fell by 33,000 from the previous week and that 12.6 million are collecting traditional unemployment benefits, compared with just 1.7 million a year ago. Below is a breakdown of week over week unemployment numbers in Florida, where more than 36,500 people applied for benefits recently.
- Americans still waiting on second COVID-19 relief: President Donald Trump parachuted into the coronavirus aid debate, upbraiding his Republican allies for proposing too small of a relief package and encouraging both parties in Congress to go for a bigger one that would include his priority of $1,200 stimulus checks for most Americans. But his top GOP allies in the House and Senate shrugged off the president’s mid-morning tweet for more aid. They also weighed in against a $1.5 trillion aid package backed by moderates in both parties that earned praise from the White House. Negotiations remain far apart.
Polk County surpassed 500 deaths since March on Thursday, with six additional virus fatalities and Orange County added 10 recent deaths. Osceola was the only county without any new COVID-19 deaths reported on Thursday.
Below is a breakdown of coronavirus cases in the Central Florida region:
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The Associated Press contributed to this story.