ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Hours away from the first U.S. presidential debate where coronavirus is expected to loom large, Florida health officials reported 3,266 new cases of the respiratory illness that has now burdened the world and the economy for more than eight months.
The new cases reported Tuesday bring Florida’s total to 704,568 for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 since March.
The last time Florida reported more than 3,000 new cases was 10 days ago.
A day after Florida had the lowest number of new COVID-19 deaths reported in one day since the end of May, the Florida Department of Health reported 106 people have recently died from the disease. These fatalities bring the state death toll up to 14,313, including 170 non-residents who died here.
Meanwhile, across the globe, 8 1/2 months after the disease was first reported, the pandemic’s confirmed death toll has eclipsed 1 million, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. The United States, where the virus has killed about 205,000 people, accounts for one out of five deaths worldwide, far more than any other country despite its wealth and medical resources.
Currently, there are 2,148 people hospitalized in Florida with the virus, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. The state reported 249 new hospitalizations on Tuesday, bringing the total to 43,855 for individuals who have been hospitalized since March because of the illness.
Florida’s positivity rate for those who tested positive for the first time was 4.96%, compared to the overall test reported in one day, an increase by nearly 1 point. The state’s rate for all testing is 13.3%.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida will receive 6.4 million rapid antigen COVID-19 tests from the federal government to expand testing. More than 5.2 million people have been tested in Florida alone, of those 4.5 million have come back negative.
Here are three things to know about the coronavirus for Sept. 29:
- Thanksgiving during a pandemic: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking families, despite the temptation to do otherwise, to keep COVID-19 precautions in mind when celebrating Thanksgiving this year. The agency recognizes after a mostly socially distant and unprecedented year, families will want to gather around the table and partake in the holiday surrounding gratitude. See the list of recommendations here.
- Masks for marching band: Orange County Public School board members are set to discuss changes to face mask rules Tuesday for students, including requiring band members to wear masks with mouth-piece openings and bell covers for wind instruments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The school board is scheduled to review changes to the school district’s mask rules during a workshop on Tuesday.
- Local mask mandates remain in effect: Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement that Florida would move to phase three honed in on allowing full capacity at restaurants but few other businesses and stipulations were addressed, which created some confusion locally. The governor’s executive order doesn’t specifically address mask mandates because a statewide mask mandate was never issued. Instead, it’s been up to local governments to decide whether they’d like to require masks and in Central Florida, several of them have.
Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases in the Central Florida region:
Nine out of 10 counties in the region reported coronavirus deaths on Tuesday. Between Orange and Polk counties nearly 1,000 people have died in six months.
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