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Your Sunday Update: Workers praise Disney virus safety, but will visitors come?, Florida regulator looking at how to open bars safely, Colleges plan for virus testing

Disney World Magic Kingdom Castle on 7/9/2020

Photo: Allison Varney

More than 20,000 new cases and 201 deaths over the weekend

Brendan Byrne, WMFE

Florida reported more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases over the weekend.

The Florida Department of Health reported 12,149 new positive cases on Saturday and 9,338 new cases Sunday.

There were 201 deaths over the weekend — 124 reported Saturday and 77 on Sunday — bringing the overall death rate to 5,854.

The state’s percent positive rate dropped slightly to 14 percent.

Orange County continues to lead central Florida in cases at 26,615 in total. South Florida counties Dade, Broward and Palm Beach continue to record the most cases in the state.

Since the start of the pandemic, Florida identified 423,855 thousand positive cases statewide.

Workers praise Disney virus safety, but will visitors come?

Mike Schneider, Associated Press

 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Two weeks after reopening, workers at Disney World are praising the company for the safety protocols that have been implemented to protect against the new coronavirus. But questions remain about whether it will matter to paying guests of Disney World and its crosstown rivals, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando.

More than 75 million visitors came to Orlando in 2018, mostly due to its reputation as a theme park mecca. But the coronavirus has upended Orlando’s status as the most visited place in the U.S.

The hotel occupancy rate is down more than 60% from a year ago.

Florida’s top regulator looking at how to open bars safely

Associated Press 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s top business regulator said he planned to meet with bar owners to discuss how they can reopen their businesses again safely. Halsey Beshears, secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, said Saturday that he is planning to start setting up meetings with owners of bars and breweries across the state later this week to discuss how they can reopen without spreading the virus.

Last month, Florida banned alcohol consumption at its bars in response to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases. Beshears remarks come as the Department of Health reported 12,199 new cases. Florida now surpasses New York State in cases.

A group of craft beer breweries in a letter warned Gov. DeSantis and Beshears 100 Florida breweries could shut down permanently if current regulations are in place.

Colleges plan for virus testing, but strategies vary widely

Collin Binkley, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Dozens of U.S. colleges are announcing plans to test students for the coronavirus this fall, but their strategies vary widely. Colby College in Maine plans to test all students every other day for two weeks and then twice a week.

Harvard University will test students on campus three times a week. But some plan to test students only if they show symptoms or come into contact with a positive case, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Federal health officials discourage widespread testing on college campuses, but some researchers say it’s necessary to prevent outbreaks. Cornell and Yale university researchers say that without widespread testing, COVID-19 could be spread by infected students who don’t show symptoms.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »