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Your Saturday Update: Grim Record For Florida’s COVID-19 Death Rate As New Daily Cases Top 10K, Disney World Reopens Amid Coronavirus Surges, Gov. DeSantis Declares “Status Quo” In Florida, Some Hospitals Seeing Younger & Sicker Patients

Disney World Magic Kingdom Castle on 7/9/2020

Disney World Magic Kingdom Castle on 7/9/2020 Photo: Allison Varney

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Grim Record For Florida Coronavirus Deaths This Week

by Associated Press

More Floridians died of coronavirus this week than in any other seven-day period.

The state recorded nearly 500 deaths over the last seven days, an average of 71 per day. The worst week previously was in early May when the state average 60 deaths per day.

Because of the economic shutdown, that rate dropped sharply and three weeks ago the death rate was 30. For two weeks it crept up before exploding the last three days.

Since March 1st, the state has reported more than 254,500 confirmed cases and about 4,300 deaths.

DeSantis Keeps “Status Quo” In Florida

by Nicole Darden Creston, WMFE

Gov. Ron DeSantis says it’s “status quo” for now in Florida.

He spoke Saturday at the Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

DeSantis declined to order a statewide mask mandate or make further changes to Florida’s reopening process as coronavirus cases surge in the Sunshine State.

He also repeated his assertion that Florida’s schools should reopen next month, in part because of a widening “achievement gap” between students. He stated that children are “not vectors” for COVID-19, even though studies so far are mixed on the subject and the CDC says children should not meet in large groups because it can put others at risk.

DeSantis said a thousand additional medical personnel have been hired and will fan out around the state, helping to staff Florida’s COVID-only nursing home facilities, supporting Florida’s testing efforts, and taking on other duties.

The governor touted Florida’s testing efforts, saying 2.4 million Floridians have been tested over the course of the pandemic – 400,000 of those in the last week alone.

He acknowledged that the wait for results is too long, saying it makes contact tracing difficult. He also said he has asked the federal government to send chemical reagents that are needed to perform testing.

DeSantis was joined by the hospital’s medical staff along with state Senate President Bill Galvano.

Galvano praised DeSantis’ leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and warned of the economic dangers of “going backward” in the form of another shutdown.

Florida Reports 10K+ New Cases Saturday

by Nicole Darden Creston, WMFE

Florida is reporting 10,360 new cases of coronavirus Saturday. It is the third highest daily increase the state has reported during the pandemic. Florida is seeing the fastest spread of the virus across any state in the nation except for Arizona.

Ninety-five deaths were also reported. Over the course of the pandemic, 4,301 people have died in Florida due to COVID-19.

By county, here are today’s newly-reported coronavirus case numbers in Central Florida:

Orange County – 482

Polk County – 372

Seminole County – 116

Osceola County – 203

Volusia County – 180

Brevard County – 133

Lake County – 96

Sumter County – 33

Disney World Reopens Orlando Theme Parks Amidst Coronavirus Spike

by Nicole Darden Creston, WMFE

Walt Disney World is reopening two of its Orlando theme parks to the public today, amid surging coronavirus numbers in Florida.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opened to the general public Saturday, after holding soft opening events for employees and annual passholders last week. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are slated to open next week.

Disney officials say new coronavirus protection measures are in place, such as social distancing, a mask mandate and temperature checks. Guests with a fever of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to enter the parks.

Events that draw a crowd, like fireworks and parades, are temporarily canceled.

Lisa Loucks, who says she and her family are very active annual pass holders, was at the Magic Kingdom for one of the preview days last week.

Loucks says she wasn’t worried about safety because of Disney’s social distancing measures and because most of the rides are outdoors.

“I’m a public school teacher, and we’re talking about reopening the schools. I teach close to 200 kids a day in a non-ventilated, no windows situation,” says Loucks. “That makes me more nervous than going to the theme parks.”

Yesterday, the US recorded more than 70,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, a new record for the country.

Younger Patients At Jackson Memorial Have COVID-19 Plus Other Diseases

by Veronica Zaragovia, WLRN

Roughly 20 ICU beds remain at Jackson Memorial in Miami, the main hospital of the Jackson Health System. It hasn’t run out of bed space, but more nurses have been sent to work there by the state, because of the patient uptick.

But those new patients are younger and not always coming in because of COVID-19 alone.

Roy Hawkins Junior is Jackson Memorial’s chief executive officer. He says the hospital has set up COVID-positive units, specifically designated for COVID-19 patients.

Many of these patients are younger but also sicker. They have other diseases, like diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And that — plus the coronavirus — brings them in for care.

“During the time when the city was shut down and everyone was quarantined, I don’t think folks were really taking the best care of themselves,” Hawkins said, adding they may have stopped going for checkups or taking their medication.

And now COVID-19 has made them gravely ill.

Still, Doctor David de la Zerda wants young people to know that even without other diseases, COVID is serious. He’s Jackson Memorial’s ICU medical director.

“Young people need to understand that they can get sick and they can die from COVID-19,” he said, pointing out that that’s why masks remain so important, for everyone.

 


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Nicole Darden Creston

About Nicole Darden Creston

All Things Considered Host and Reporter

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined WMFE in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from ... Read Full Bio »

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