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South Florida reports rising COVID-19 infections in schools as state reports 3,662 new cases

Gov. Ron DeSantis says reopening schools was best option for students

Miami-Dade schools confirm cases of COVID-19 in first week back i classrooms
Miami-Dade schools confirm cases of COVID-19 in first week back i classrooms

ORLANDO, Fla. – The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen to 90 among students and teachers in Miami-Dade County’s public schools since classrooms reopened for face-to-face learning, according to the district’s dashboard, however, some worry that number is significantly higher.

Some parents and teachers say that the Miami-Dade School District has not been transparent enough about the severity of the issue as the school system enters the third week of brick-and-mortar classes, the Miami Herald reported.

“We’ve been kept in the dark,” Jennifer Desa, whose son attends Air Base K-8 Center in Homestead, told the newspaper. She said parents received robocalls from the school informing them of positive cases on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. But the school still wasn’t listed on the COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday morning.

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On Friday, the dashboard reported 29 staff members and 19 students had tested positive for the coronavirus since students returned to face-to-face learning the week of Oct. 5. By Tuesday morning the numbers had climbed to 54 employees and 36 students, according to the dashboard.

In neighboring Broward County, where some students have returned over the past week to face-to-face learning, the COVID-19 dashboard is updated twice a week. The dashboard listed 9 staff and 11 students who have tested positive since Oct. 9. It also says there have been 61 cases at 46 sites over the past 30 days.

The two South Florida school districts were the last in the state to let students choose to return to classrooms.

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a briefing in Jacksonville Tuesday regarding schools and coronavirus in which he stood by his administration’s decision to reopen schools.

School districts across the state are waiting on guidance from the Florida Department of Education to find out what next semester will look like for students amid the ongoing pandemic.

The governor cited guiding principles from the World Health Organization outlining its definition that health is a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing -- not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

“I think as COVID hit traditionally in March when there was a lot of apprehension and feat, a lot of folks lost sight of that he said. But when we looked at what was going to go on with our school system this year, we knew that the physical, mental and social wellbeing of our kids required us to provide them with the option of in-person learning,” he said, reinforcing his stance that parents were given the choice to allow their child to learn at home or not.

“The evidence was abundantly clear then and it’s obviously even more clear now that schools are not drivers of spreading coronavirus and schools need to be open.”

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Health reported 3,662 new cases on Tuesday and a jump in the positivity rate compared to overall tests.

Below is a breakdown of the latest coronavirus numbers in Florida:


Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 3,662 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 760,389. Compared to Monday’s data, which is historically lower after a weekend, cases doubled.

Deaths

The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday reported 86 people have recently died from COVID-19. As of Tuesday’s coronavirus report, 16,308 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 203 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.

Hospitalizations

The state reported 227 new hospitalizations on Tuesday, meaning the state has seen a total of 47,352 patients admitted into a hospital since March in relation to COVID-19.

Currently, there are 2,072 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Positivity Rate

More than 5.7 million people have been tested for the virus since March. According to state health officials, 5 million have tested negative while more than 760,389 have tested positive, bringing the state’s overall positivity rate to 13.17%

For tests reported to the state within the last 48 hours for people who tested positive for the first time, the rate was 6.17% on Monday, according to the DOH. The percent of positive results has ranged from 3.43% to 7.87% over the past 2 weeks.

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If you are having trouble viewing the dashboard on mobile, click here.

Below is a Central Florida county-by-county breakdown of COVID-19 overall totals and new data:

CountyCasesNew CasesHospitalizationsNew HospitalizationsDeathsNew Deaths
Brevard10,5219495543503
Flagler1,993221612370
Lake8,2404569762180
Marion10,509511,03513394
Orange43,9433221,50212532-2
Osceola13,5605974791853
Polk21,9811442,279185923
Seminole9,8026572592361
Sumter2,771172711833
Volusia12,0386292183103

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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