ORLANDO, Fla. – The nation is averaging 172,000 new coronavirus cases per day, nearly doubling since the end of October, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are also up sharply as the nation approaches Thanksgiving.
In Florida, where positive cases are nearly 1 million overall, long lines for coronavirus testing are expected to continue as millions prepare to travel for the holiday, according to emergency management officials.
Mike Jachles, of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said he’s expecting all state-run testing sites to be busy leading up to Thursday.
Anyone hoping to get a test at the Orange County Convention Center can preregister at patientportalfl.com.
However, health officials nationwide and here in Central Florida continue to warn against large gatherings for the holiday. With conflicting mask mandates and precautions across the U.S., it’s up to people to make the right decision.
Alvina Chu, an epidemiology program manager with the Florida Department of Health, said Monday there are certain individuals who should opt out this year, no matter what, to keep their loved ones safe. Those individuals include anyone who is COVID-19 positive, experiencing any virus symptoms or anyone who has been exposed to a known case or is awaiting test results.
“This may be obvious to state, but if you are positive, a known positive right now for COVID-19 infection and you have not been recommended for de-isolation or you’re recommended to stay at home for the length of time that your physician or health care provider or the health department has recommended for you, please do not go to an in-person gathering because you could be at risk for spreading this illness to your loved ones who might be especially vulnerable,” Chu said.
Chu also recommended hosts keep in mind who on their guest lists have been known not to wear masks or practice coronavirus safety measures.
“If you have some family members who, you know, don’t practice their good pandemic precautions, then they are at risk because they may be infectious and not know it,” Chu said. “So they are out and about and circulating and not protecting themselves or others.”
In the past two weeks across Florida, new cases are up 47%, hospitalizations have increased by 17% and deaths associated with the disease have gone up by 21%.
Below is information provided by the Florida Department of Health for Tuesday, Nov. 24.
The Florida Department of Health reported 8,555 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 953,300 cases since March.
The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday reported 73 people have recently died from COVID-19. As of Tuesday’s coronavirus report, a total of 18,383 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 226 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.
Currently, there are 3,780 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. The Florida DOH reported 328 newly hospitalized patients due to COVID-19 on Tuesday. The last time the state reported more than 330 new hospitalizations was on Sept. 1.
Florida’s positivity rate - the number of positive tests compared to overall tests-- ranged from 5.1% to 8.44% over the past two weeks. For tests reported Monday, it was 7.47%.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: As testing ramps up ahead of Thanksgiving, Florida reports 6,331 new coronavirus cases]
Below is a breakdown of the coronavirus numbers across the 10-county Central Florida region for Nov. 24:
|County||Cases||New Cases||Hospitalizations||New Hospitalizations||Deaths||New Deaths|
The Associated Press contributed to this report.