Gov. DeSantis knocks contact tracing as Florida reports 6,044 new COVID-19 case

FEMA opens new mobile site in Orlando

In an effort to expand vaccine access, FEMA opened a new mobile inoculation site Thursday at the Northwest Neighborhood Center in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla. – In an effort to expand vaccine access, FEMA opened a new mobile inoculation site Thursday at the Northwest Neighborhood Center in Orlando.

The mobile site at 3955 W D Judge Drive will be open through Saturday. Operations will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointments are necessary.

[TRENDING: DeSantis: Contact tracing doesn’t work | How to track your stimulus payment | Fla. closer to ban for transgender female athletes]

The mobile vaccine site is all part of the push to quell the spread of COVID-19, which has included contact tracing efforts across the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday, however, that contact tracing efforts are not working.

“I think we have to admit that contact tracing has just not worked, OK,” DeSantis said.

Contact tracing is a method of controlling COVID-19 by identifying the origin of infection, mapping it and asking people to quarantine.

Professor Ali Mokdad, of the University of Washington, disagreed with the governor’s remarks.

“I don’t know who is advising the governor, but that is against everything we do in epidemiology and against everything CDC is recommending,” Mokdad said.

At the same time, 90 million Americans have already received their third stimulus payment from the federal government. President Joe Biden has said at least 85% of Americans will qualify for the full $1,400 payment.

But what if you haven’t received your money yet?

First, check the IRS’s Get My Payment tool. The tool has been updated to reflect the latest round of money. Remember, the information you fill out will be based on the last taxes you filed, either 2019 or 2020.

If you have not received your payment yet, the IRS urges you to file your 2020 taxes to get the money.

If you make under $72,000, you can file for free on the IRS’s website.

Other reasons you may not have received your payment or the full amount you expected?

  • You filed a paper return on your last taxes
  • You changed your home address or your bank account
  • Or, you have new or older dependents

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 4,727 new COVID-19 cases as health officials urge precautions on St. Patrick’s Day]

Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on March 18.


The Florida Department of Health reported 6,044 new cases on Thursday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,994,117 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.


Florida reported 99 new virus-related deaths Thursday, bringing the death toll to 33,219. This number includes the 621 non-residents who died in Florida.


As of Thursday afternoon, there were currently 2,950 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since March 1, 2020, 82,997 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 211 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Thursday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 5.56% Wednesday out of 108,785 tests performed. The numbers reported daily by the state reflect test results from the day prior. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.


The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.

FDOH reports 2,553,865 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 4,570,538 people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

See COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region below:

CountyCasesNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.