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Florida Cases Pass 50,000; Social Distancing In Hurricane Shelters; South Florida Cities Test Employees For Antibodies: Your Coronavirus Update For 05/23

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Florida cases pass 50,000

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Florida has had 50,127 coronavirus cases according to the latest data from the state department of health. 2,232 people have died from COVID-19 in the state. Orange County has had 1,768 cases and 39 deaths. Florida has a 5.9% positive test rate overall.

In Volusia County, 36 people have died from COVID-19, while 18 people have died in Osceola County from COVID-19.

Click on the map to see data from other counties.

In Orlando, city leaders are establishing mobile testing sites in each of the six commission districts as businesses reopen.

Central Florida attractions have begun to reopen, with Fun Spot America and Gatorland open this weekend. Legoland plans to reopen on June 1st and Universal Orlando on June 5th.

Emergency Officials Look To Classrooms As Solution For Social Distancing In A Hurricane Shelter

Regan McCarthy, WFSU

As hurricane season nears, emergency management officials are looking for creative ways to protect people during the storms, while keeping coronavirus mitigation in place.

In Miami-Dade County emergency management director Frank Rollason says officials are increasing the number of shelters they plan to offer and are working with the school district to open classrooms within the school buildings they use as shelters.

“So we’ll have more rooms, more open spaces where we can put families together in these rooms, rather than being in the congregate areas,” said Rollason.

Rollason said those rooms will help keep people in smaller groups and let officials isolate people who have COVID-19 symptoms. He said some officials are considering screening people and taking temperatures before letting them into shelters, but he emphasizes, nobody will be turned away.

South Florida Cities Begin Testing Employees For Covid-19 Antibodies

Jenny Staletovich, WLRN

This week, Coral Springs tested hundreds of city employees for COVID-19 antibodies. Coral Springs Fire Battalion Chief Christopher Bator said the city wants to keep tabs on employees’ exposure to the virus. So they’ve turned to antibody testing.

“As we go out and are still doing more and more of those community services and engaging more with our community, our residents and businesses, those exposure rates are going to increase, so I think that it’s important for us to have basically a baseline,” he said.

Of the 700 employees tested, 359 were first responders. All tested negative. Employees will be tested again in six weeks and 12 weeks.

The tests will help researchers track employees’ antibodies over time to study immunity. The city is passing along results to the Florida Department of Health.

Bator said he worries that people may not be calling 911 for help because they’re afraid of getting infected.

“It’s been viewed as like hospitals have a lot of COVID in it. First responders and firefighters, our ambulances, rescuers have COVID in it. We want to make sure that people understand what we’re doing on the prevention side to make sure that they feel comfortable using those services.”

He said Parkland, Margate, Davie and Hialeah are also using antibody testing.

Bator said the tests are not being used to clear employees to return to work. For that, the city is using diagnostic tests to determine when a worker is negative for the virus.


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