ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida counties are in its final days of early voting preparations, making adjustments as voters decide how they want to cast their ballot during the coronavirus pandemic. The state reporting more than 2,880 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, as election officials continue to map out how to implement new safety guidelines.
The coronavirus pandemic brought a push for mail-in ballots, citing a safe option for those concerned with contracting the virus. As of Wednesday morning, 1,916,920 Floridians have returned their mail-in ballots, according to the U.S. Elections Project.
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Nearly 2 million voters have already cast their ballots from a distance, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden continue to make sweeping attempts to spend the few days campaigning in Florida before early voting kicks off. The president’s re-election campaign announced Trump will host a town hall Thursday in Miami as Biden hosts another town hall in Pennsylvania the same evening. Both will be sure to be questioned about the pandemic as 215,718 people have lost their lives to the virus in the U.S. After Thursday night’s town hall, Trump will travel to northern Central Florida to attend a campaign rally in Ocala on Friday.
With presidential candidates making a push for the polls days before early voting gets underway, onlookers are analyzing the crowds gathering for their appearances, noting the use of masks and venue space and how it all could impact the spread of COVID-19 and the overall election.
Below is the information provided by the Florida Department of Health for Wednesday, Oct. 14.
The department of health reported 2,883 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 741,632.
The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday reported 66 people have recently died from COVID-19. As of Wednesday’s report, 15,788 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 193 non-resident deaths in Florida.
State health officials have always maintained that virus fatalities are often delayed in being reported to the FDOH, with some deaths not reported for a month or more.
The state reported 257 new hospitalizations on Wednesday, meaning the state has seen a total of 46,482 patients admitted into a hospital since March in relation to COVID-19.
Currently, there are 2,161 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
The state’s daily positivity rate was 5.42%. The statistic is based on the number of tests conducted Tuesday compared with the number of positive results. The state’s overall rate remains above 13%.
As of Wednesday morning, the state has conducted more than 5.6 million COVID-19 tests since March.
[SEE YESTERDAY’S REPORT: State reports thousands of new COVID-19 cases as candidates campaign in Florida]
Central Florida County-By-County Breakdown:
|County||Cases||New Cases||Hospitalizations||New Hospitalizations||Deaths||New Deaths|
Here are three things to know about coronavirus in Central Florida:
Orange County schools updates mask policy: The school district updated its face-covering policies Tuesday, as 16,000 students opted to return to the classroom for in-person learning. The new rules give more leeway when students can forego the mask while playing band instruments, participating in classroom activities or theatrical performances. Read more about the updated policy here.
Pfizer to start child testing COVID-19 vaccine: Drugmaker Pfizer is planning to start testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine on children as young as 12. It will be the first coronavirus vaccine trial to include children in the U.S. The Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital says teenagers between ages 16 and 17 will get the vaccine this week. Read more about their testing timeline.
Positive virus cases force students to pivot to online learning: Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 4th grade students at Avalon Elementary School will be learning online after four positive coronavirus cases at the school, according to Orange County Public Schools. Three school employees and one student tested positive for the coronavirus, and a total of 38 people are now under quarantine, officials said. The school district said LaunchED learning starts Wednesday for students affected by the cases and they will continue online learning until Oct. 23.