STATEWIDE — Florida reported more than 5,500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, shattering the previous one-day reporting record by more than 1,500, as the state of New York imposed a 14-day quarantine for travelers from Florida and other hard-hit states.
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The Florida Department of Health reported 5,511 new cases, breaking the previous record of 4,049 reported Saturday.
There were also 43 new deaths reported statewide. So far, a total of 3,281 people have reported to have died of COVID-19, according to the state.
Orange County saw a jump of 554 coronavirus infections, while Polk County counted new 175 cases and Seminole County 173.
Two weeks ago, Florida's one-day record for confirmed coronavirus cases was 1,601, set in mid-May. That has been exceeded every day since June 12, and the seven-day average for tests coming back positive has tripled from 3.8 percent on June 1 to 13 percent, the Associated Press reported.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought to prevent a second wave in his state by imposing a 14-day quarantine anyone coming from places battling "significant community spread," which included Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Arizona, South Carolina, Washington, Utah, and Texas. The new rule went into effect at midnight on Thursday.
New Jersey and Connecticut also imposed 14-day quarantines on travelers.
"It's just common sense," Cuomo said.
University of Central Florida College of Medicine Associate Dean Dr. Marcia Katz says she thinks the number of cases in Florida will continue to rise. She cited several recent events, including Memorial Day weekend, recent Black Lives Matter protests, and the state's Phase 2 reopening guidelines.
The new numbers show that although coronavirus cases are skyrocketing among people 25 to 54, the number of recent deaths remains low.
“(That age group) may not be as vulnerable in severe illness, but that’s not that they won’t get sick. I think everyone needs to be concerned,” Katz said.
There's generally a lag between spikes in the number of cases and when more deaths are reported, and some experts are concerned about a possible rise in deaths.
Convention center testing site breaks records again
The Orange County Convention Center regional COVID-19 testing site had so many people show up to get tested Wednesday, it had to turn people away for the second day in a row.
The site saw another record-breaking day with 1,467 active virus swab tests and 272 antibody tests performed on site, Florida's State Emergency Response Team said.
A spokesperson said some people showed up there as early as 2:30 Wednesday morning, and by 1 p.m., workers had to cut the line of cars off because they had reached the amount of people they could test in one day.
Testing administrators say they have enough tests – it’s demand for testing that’s overwhelming the test site.
“The issue is not whether the state provides more tests, we have the tests. The demand is so high, we’re actually processing approximately 1,400 swab tests,” said Mike Jachles, a spokesperson for Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Jachles says six testing stations are collectively testing 200 people per hour.
He advises anyone coming out for testing to come as early as possible and have a full tank of gas. Several people ran out of gas while in line, which slowed down testing.
Testing resumes at 9 a.m. Thursday.
— Jeff Allen, Spectrum News
Seminole County to open testing sites every day
With a big spike in coronavirus cases, Seminole County leaders are opening testing sites every day this week throughout the county.
Hundreds of people waited to get tested at an Altamonte Springs site on Wednesday.
Joseph Roberts was in line for three hours, but the wait didn’t matter, he said it was important he get tested.
Seminole County leaders said the area is seeing an aggressive growth in cases. In all of May, there were just over 100 positive cases. Up to this point in June, the county has well over 1,000 cases. Seminole County has tested over 30,000 people.
Seminole County health professionals said with all of the testing, the county’s positivity rate is going up. Currently, it’s around 5 percent.
Seminole County will host testing sites every day next week, but the list of places has not yet been released.
— Dan Messineo, Spectrum News
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