Florida coronavirus cases top more than 1,100 statewide

A resident of The Villages, Fla. gets tested for the coronavirus with a nasal swab at a drive-through site that accomodates golf carts, at The Villages Polo Club, Monday, March 23, 2020. The testing site is being operated by UF Health, with University of Florida medical students performing the tests, and is limited to residents of The Villages only. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
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Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Coronavirus cases in Florida soared past 1,100 and one new death has been reported as U.S. and global death tolls continued to mount Monday morning.

As of 11 a.m. local time Monday, Florida had 14 deaths as it tracked 1,171 cases. That includes 1,096 Florida residents and 75 non-Florida residents in the state, with 860 cases pending.

South Florida counties continue to lead the case load with Miami-Dade’s 267, Broward’s 258 and Palm Beach’s 89. Forty-eight of the state’s 67 counties have confirmed at least one case.

In Central Florida, 21 new cases have been reported. Orange County now has the most with 45 cases followed by Osceola’s 24, Seminole’s 20, Volusia’s 15, Polk’s 13, Sumter’s eight, and Brevard and Lake’s seven cases each.

The latest death in the state is from Palm Beach County. Over the weekend, the county reported its first death to coronavirus.

Of the 14 Florida-resident deaths, two have been Orange County cases, although one of them was of an Orange County woman who died in California after travel to Asia. There is at least one other fatality in the state not counted among Florida totals — a Georgia woman who died at a Tallahassee hospital.

Testing in Central Florida is not yet at the levels it is in South Florida, though, and the area won’t be getting its drive-thru testing site open at the Orange County Convention Center until Wednesday. But a new testing site opened for residents in east Orange County on Monday for those who meet CDC criteria for testing.

More closures and cancellations rolled out across the state in an effort to follow social-distancing guidelines from the CDC. That includes all 175 Florida state parks. In South Florida, Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade closed down marinas, while Broward County shut down all non-essential businesses.

More beaches shut down across the state as well over the weekend, with Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties shutting down several in the wake of South Florida beach closures last week. Brevard County continues to keep public parking closed, while Volusia County beaches have shut down access to driving on the beach, but has kept public parking open.

As of Monday morning, the national toll continued to grow with 473 deaths, according to date from the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.

More than 1.5 billion people — one-fifth of the world’s population — were asked or ordered to stay home on Monday to try to blunt the spread of coronavirus.

Several states have ordered residents to stay home unless they have essential reasons to go out.

So far, in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted issuing a statewide order. His frequently articulated view, which he repeated Monday, is that there are many side effects when such an order is issued.

But DeSantis said Monday that New York’s order for people to stay home to curb the spread of the new coronavirus led some people to leave — and come to Florida. DeSantis described the movement to Florida in response to a question about whether he would impose a state-at-home order in Florida, something other governors have done and some Florida leaders have requested.

After just a few weeks, U.S. cases topped 35,300, as worldwide cases passed 351,000 with the death toll surpassing 15,400. Italy continues to have the highest number of fatalities, which now stands near 5,500.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.

While global cases continue to grow, one number passed a milestone — the number of people who have recovered. Since the outbreak began in December in China, just over 100,000 people have recovered there and around the world.

©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)
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