ORLANDO, Fla. — The agency that handles unemployment claims in Florida is trying a new tool to help deal with the volume of people trying to log into the beleaguered CONNECT system. 

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The Dept. of Economic Opportunity unveiled a Virtual Waiting Room on Monday. Claimants trying to get into CONNECT will reserve their place in line and wait to utilize the system. 

DEO says thanks to system enhancements over the last few months, CONNECT is able to host roughly 80,000 concurrent users, when it was designed to hold just 1,000 concurrent users at any time. 

Even with the new system, users reported to Spectrum News's Greg Angel that they were still waiting hours in the virtual queue to get into CONNECT. 

DEO officials say when being in the virtual queue, it's important not to close out of the browser window, because you will lose your place and have to start all over again. 

The virtual queue is the latest fix to the CONNECT system, the online system for filing unemployment claims that has been overloaded by the number of people filing for help because of shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, along with reported technical issues that have hampered people from making claims, including the system crashing, kicking applicants out, losing information, hours-long waits and other claims by people trying to get unemployment. 

DEO says it has received more than 2.2 million claims for unemployment since March 15 on its dashboard. More than 1 million claimants have gotten benefits, and some 500,000 have been told they are not eligible for state or federal benefits.