ORLANDO, Fla. – Many students are returning to the classroom in the upcoming days as several school districts grapple with the parameters of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order that bans COVID-19 mandates and reinforces a parent’s right to choose whether their child wears a mask in school.
The governor’s office told News 6 it is working with the state departments of education and health to finalize rules for school districts regarding masks.
[TRENDING: $739 mortgage payment in Winter Park? Here’s how it’s possible | Florida doctor: ‘Getting vaccinated is the way out’ | 3 Central Fla. first responders die from COVID-19]
“We are finalizing health and education emergency rules this week that do not prohibit masks in schools but will require parents to have the right to opt their children out. School districts will be expected to allow parents to make this choice,” the statement said.
Seminole and Orange counties’ school districts moved forward with mask requirements for its employees starting Friday. In Orange County, the district’s employees will be required to wear masks for at least 30 days.
Hospitalizations in Central Florida continue to increase, forcing hospital systems to revise visitor policies and defer non-emergency surgeries to accommodate its patients. Across AdventHealth’s Central Florida system, officials said they are treating a record-high number of COVID-19 patients with 1,350 hospitalized as of Thursday’s update.
“When you look back at wave one, wave two, this is the highest number of patients that we’ve treated with COVID so far,” said Dr. Eduardo Oliveria, the executive medical director for AdventHealth critical care services. “It’s definitely putting a certain level of strain on the system as far as our ability to care for all of those patients. We’ve done that very well so far, but the numbers are pretty high.”
As of Friday, Florida has 12,864 confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide, continuing to break state pandemic records. Florida first recorded a new pandemic record of hospitalizations on Sunday with over 10,200 people hospitalized. The state also recorded its highest one-day total last weekend with 21,683 new cases since the start of the pandemic.
Orange County is feeling the pressure on its hospitals and economic impacts from COVID-19 as conferences or conventions have been canceled. Mayor Jerry Demings said at least four of those events canceled dates at the Orange County Convention Center that he said is “approximately $43.9 million economic impacts on our community.”
The county’s health officials are also predicting a rise in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the coming weeks as the surge continues. As businesses make decisions on masks or vaccines amid high cases, the governor has reiterated this week he would not be imposing restrictions or mandates. President Joe Biden has called on Republic leaders, including DeSantis, to “get out of the way” of vaccine rules aimed at containing the more transmissible and dangerous COVID-19 variant.
Moderna announced its vaccine remains 93% effective as much as six months after the second dose and it is also testing a potential booster shot.
[READ THE LAST COVID-19 REPORT: Florida averages nearly 10,500 cases per day amid increasing hospitalizations ]
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Aug. 6.
The Florida Department of Health reported 134,506 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,725,450 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 19,215 new infections reported per day. This is the highest daily average for a 7-day period in the state of Florida since the pandemic began.
Florida reported 175 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 39,695 actually shows there have been 616 new deaths added to the state total. The state has not provided any information as to when these deaths occurred.
The state stopped reporting the number of non-residents who died in Florida with its new weekly reporting method.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration deleted its current COVID-19 hospitalization database and the state is no longer reporting how many patients have been hospitalized with the virus. However, Florida is still required to report that information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC continues to release that information online. The most recent hospital numbers are below:
The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 18.9% but did not provide how many people were tested during the past week. 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 2020 on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state. In the new weekly reports, the state is combining the vaccination data with the COVID-19 infection numbers.
FDOH reports 10,174,993 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.
During the past week, 278,375 new people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Central Florida region
The state is no longer providing a breakdown of county-by-county deaths or hospitalizations as of June 3. The Florida DOH is also no longer providing county numbers for non-residents who have tested positive, causing the total case numbers to drop significantly, in some counties by more than 1,000 cases.
For example, with non-resident positive cases as of June 3, Orange County had reported a total of 143,198 but with the state’s new reporting method, the county has 141,941 total cases, a difference of 1,257 positive cases.
Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases and new vaccination numbers between July 30-Aug. 5, 2021.
|County||Total cases as of Aug. 5||New cases since July 30||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 12+ population vaccinated|
To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.