Orange County Ready For Patient Surge; Orlando Police Salute Health Care Workers; Osceola County Mask Ordinance; Your Coronavirus Update April 10, 2020
Florida case data is updated at approximately 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily.
6:00 p.m. update
Florida coronavirus cases near 18,000
Florida now has 17,968 cases of coronavirus. 2,496 people have been hospitalized and 419 have died from COVID-19.
Orange County has 902 cases. The oldest patient is 101, the youngest less than a year old.
Nine people have died in Sumter County from COVID-19. The county, home of The Villages retirement community, has 107 coronavirus cases.
5:00 pm update
Orange County hospitals prepared for surge of patients according to new modeling
Brendan Byrne, WMFE
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says recent models show the county’s hospital system has the resources needed to handle the predicted surge of coronavirus cases. Hospital CEOs met with Demings to discuss the system's resources and forecast of patients in the coming weeks.
"I'm happy to report to you that you have the models hold true that the hospitals presented to me, they have the capacity to meet the needs within our community," said Demings.
Despite the optimistic model, the county is preparing for a worse-case scenario. The state is prepared to turn the Orange County Convention Center parking lot into a field hospital. It would act as a regional hospital for COVID-19 patients, should the need arise.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is encouraging residents to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus, despite the lower-forecasted numbers.
"The reason these models have changed and the reason that we can sustain this and be able to handle the surge is because our residents have stayed home they practice social distancing," said Dyer. "We believe we can continue to flatten that curve and mitigate the surge to our hospitals even more, but only if we continue our efforts."
Demings said he's considering the mandatory usages of masks for anyone going out in public. He plans to make a decision in the coming days. People in Osceola County will have to wear a mask or face covering in public starting Monday.
Orlando Police Department salutes healthcare providers, veterans in Lake Nona
Danielle Prieur, WMFE
The Orlando Police Department is showing their support for healthcare workers and veterans tonight with a “Light the Night” Driving Salute.
Officers in squad cars and motorcycles will turn on their lights and sirens as they drive between the Orlando VA Medical Center and Nemour Children’s Hospital.
People can watch for the blue lights from their homes beginning at 7:30 pm or follow along virtually on OPD’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Osceola County requires masks in public spaces
Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Beginning monday, people in Osceola County will have to wear a mask or face covering in public. The executive order was announced at a press conference this afternoon.
The order applies to “everyone working, visiting or doing business in Osceola County.”
People can make their own masks as long as they follow CDC guidelines.
The order will be in effect until further notice.
It doesn’t apply to children under the age of two, people exercising so long as they are applying social distancing, or people for whom wearing a face covering would impair their health.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he's considering a similar measure and is reviewing state statutes. He expects to have a decision in the coming days.
Testing criteria expanded at drive through sites
Gov. Ron DeSantis says testing capacity will ramp up at three drive-through coronavirus testing sites.
The sites in Jacksonville, Miami and at the Orange County Convention Center have been limited to 250 tests a day.
DeSantis said more people will now be able to get tested at the sites, and there will be fewer restrictions.
“Anybody that has coronavirus symptoms, regardless of age, can come and get tested. All health care workers and first responders can get tested. And then anybody who has had close, sustained contacts with an individual that has recently tested positive for COVID-19 can get tested, even if you personally haven’t developed symptoms.”
DeSantis said testing asymptomatic people will help get a sense of who may be carrying and spreading the virus without symptoms.
Health care workers who can get tested include any staff members at long-term care facilities.
Click here for a list of locations and times where you can get a coronavirus test in Central Florida.
State works to fix unemployment claims system
DeSantis said more than 225,000Floridians filed unemployment claims this week.
“So this is a shock like we’ve never seen before, so we’re shifting as many resources to this as we can to be able to meet this real crushing demand,” said DeSantis.
He said the state’s ‘connect’ website has been overhauled, a mobile site has been added, and call centers have been beefed up to meet demand.
The state’s also received almost 12 thousand (12,000) paper applications for unemployment.
Florida cases pass 17,531
Nicole Darden Creston, WMFE
As of noon today, there are 17,531 confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide in Florida and 390 deaths.
To date, Florida has performed approximately 163,000 tests within a state population of about 21.3 million.
Confirmed current case totals in Central Florida:
Update 2:45 p.m.
UCF: No On-Campus Classes Until The Fall
Amy Green, WMFE
Classes at the University of Central Florida won’t resume until the fall.
The university says it wanted to announce the decision as soon as possible so students and employees can plan. Employees also will continue to work remotely until further notice.
Students are asked to wait to return to campus to move out of on-campus housing or retrieve any belongings. The university says it will announce a move-out time later.
Summer housing will not be available except for students with extenuating circumstances. Incoming students will attend orientation virtually.
No decision about summer commencement ceremonies has been made.
Meanwhile services like academic advising, financial aid and counseling will continue remotely.