ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida surpassed the 1 million coronavirus infections mark on the first day of December, which could also be the month virus vaccine distribution becomes a reality.
Gov. Ron DeSantis provided his first coronavirus-related public update in nearly a month in Kissimmee on Monday saying he expects Florida to receive up to 2 million of the first available COVID-19 vaccines when approved by the FDA.
In Florida, the first doses, whether the shots are from Moderna or Pfizer, will likely go to long-term care facilities, DeSantis said.
“The long term care facilities I think are a big priority because that’s where 40% of the mortality nationwide has occurred, for residents of long term care facilities, because they’re in congregate settings where the virus can spread more if it gets in,” DeSantis said.
The governor also revealed a new executive order extending virtual education for Florida students but saying all campuses will remain open for in-person learning. School districts now have until Dec. 15 to submit a plan to the Department of Education showing how they will intervene when they see students struggling with virtual learning or due to the pandemic.
The impact of Thanksgiving will take about two weeks to reflect in testing numbers but health officials in Orange County are encouraging anyone who attended a big gathering to get tested regardless of symptoms.
“Our concern is asymptomatic people. It is about 25% of all cases in Orange County and in some areas of the country it’s up to 50%,” Dr. Raul Pino from the Florida Department of Health said Monday. “Those are critical in the transmission of the disease because if you don’t feel sick, if you don’t look sick, you will not protect yourself and others will not protect from you and transmission would happen.”
Pino said it’s even more crucial now that people follow guidelines designed to stop the respiratory illness from spreading, warning, “We are about to enter a critical phase in the pandemic.”
More than 268,000 people in the U.S. alone have died from COVID-19 complications, and 1.4 million worldwide.
Below is a breakdown of Florida’s COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday, Dec. 1.
The Florida Department of Health reported 8,847 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,008,166 cases since March.
The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday reported 82 people have recently died from COVID-19. As of Tuesday’s coronavirus report, a total of 18,916 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 237 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.
As of Tuesday afternoon there are 4,279 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
In total, 55,197 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from the coronavirus. The state reported 333 new hospitalizations on Tuesday.
The percent of positive results ranged from 5.12% to 8.49% over the past two weeks and was 8.69% for tests reported Monday.
Below is a county-by-county breakdown of COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region.
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