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Monday, June 22, 2020

Amid economic reopening, Florida officially reaches 100,000 coronavirus cases

Posted By and on Mon, Jun 22, 2020 at 12:33 PM

click to enlarge Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings on Monday - SCREENSHOT VIA ORANGE TV/YOUTUBE
  • Screenshot via Orange TV/YouTube
  • Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings on Monday

Florida reached a grim milestone Monday, passing 100,000 total COVID-19 cases, according to data released by the state Department of Health.

Since Sunday, Florida added 2,926 new infections, bringing the total to 100,217. There were 12 new deaths during that time, with one apiece for Orange, Seminole and Lake counties. The total official statewide death toll now stands at 3,173.

Between the last two Sundays, Florida added 21,723 new reported cases, the highest one-week total since since March. In that week, Florida reported 230 more deaths.

Orange County now has 5,157 cases and 49 deaths. Seminole has had 1,361 cases and 16 deaths. Volusia county has had 1,263 cases with 53 deaths, and Osceola has had 1,080 cases with 23 deaths.

In a Saturday press conference, Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his decision to reopen the economy, arguing that many of the new cases are among young people who are more likely to be asymptomatic.

The Florida Department of Health issued a new public health advisory on Saturday, urging people to wear masks if they are unable to social distance, and to avoid crowds of more than 50 people. DeSantis also recommended people wear masks, but would not make it a statewide mandate.

Orange County's health department administrator Dr. Raul Pino said at a press event Monday, "the most important change in the pandemic has been that it's going lower. That's the change for us here in Orange ... it has gotten dramatically younger."

"I have hopes that this is going to be an increased number due to the social activity in the younger population that we saw two, three weeks ago, and that we could go back to where we were before," Pino said. "And that's why it's so important to continue to use masks, to wash your hands, to keep your hands away from your face, and to be mindful that people who are 65 years old with preexisting conditions have a very, very high risk."

"If it's here in the younger population and we don't take the steps we need to take, it will jump into the other populations immediately," Pino said.

Pino also told reporters the county is hiring 20 additional individuals to be trained by the Orange County Health Department, and that the office is establishing a tracking center. Pino said he is in initial talks with a vendor to provide electronic tracking.

"We could use electronic means to increase our ability to track individuals," said Pino.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has attributed the spikes in cases to more widespread testing, something Sen. Rick Scott seemed to dispute on Monday morning on CNBC.


You can watch Orange County's Monday COVID-19 briefing here and below.

A portion of this story originally appeared in our sister paper Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
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