Coronavirus Update: Cases Jump to 42 in Florida

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By Giselle Balido

March 13, 2020

As new cases spread across the state, authorities announced new measures to limit exposure

Florida sees the largest single-day jump of Coronavirus cases since the first cases in the state were announced March 1. On Thursday night Florida State officials announced another COVID-19 case in Miami-Dade, the second confirmed for this county, as well as 16 other new Florida cases. This raises the state’s total to 42, according to the Florida Department of Health (FDH).

Thirteen of the cases have been declared “under investigation” because it is still unknown if they are travel-related. Many of the 11 cases in Broward are tied to Port Everglades, the largest cluster of COVID-19 in Florida. Still, several of the cases announced had no apparent connection to travel, including a 28 year old woman with no travel history or connection to the port. In Broward County, a 20 year old woman from Texas, who had recently traveled to Europe, also tested positive for the disease.

Thursday in Miami, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged the cancellation of large events statewide. He also called for residents to avoid close contact by practicing “social distancing,” which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as maintaining a distance of six feet from other people, as well as “remaining out of congregate settings and avoiding mass gatherings.” “We need to increase social-distancing measures,” DeSantis said. “I am recommending to local municipalities and private entities to strongly consider limiting or postponing mass gatherings in the state of Florida.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who on March 11th declared the city in a state of emergency, said all concerts and major events at the AmericanAirlines Arena are canceled. He also said more cancellations could be coming on events larger than 250 people.  In view of this, the state of Florida has taken measures to comply. Some of the cancellations and closings include:

  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools will shut down beginning on Monday the 16th.
  • All concerts and major events at the AmericanAirlines Arena are cancelled. 
  • All Disney Theme Parks in Orlando, Florida will be closing as of Sunday March 15.
  • The Ultra Music Festival, scheduled from the 20th to the 22nd of March, is cancelled
  • St. Patrick Day Parades across the state are cancelled
  • Miami-Dade County Youth Fair are cancelled
  • The Florida Board of Governors urged the state’s universities to move classes online and to encourage students to go home for at least two weeks, or tell students who go on spring break not to return to classes for at least two weeks.
  • Palm Beach County School District is closing for two weeks effective Monday, per Superintendent Donald Fennoy.
  • Miami Beach declared a state of emergency and called off Spring Break. The City will suspend or refuse to pull permits for gatherings of more than 250 for the next 30 days. This includes city-sponsored spring break concerts in South beach and LGBTQ Miami Beach Pride.

Churches and Mosques

Due to the spread of coronavirus in Florida, some churches have taken steps to minimize the risk of contagion.

The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-By-the-Sea in Palm Beach has cancelled services and programs through March 27 after several staff attended a conference in Kentucky where there had been four rectors who have confirmed or presumptive diagnosis.  

Trinity United Methodist Church in DeLand is closed until at least March 23 after the Volusia County Health Department reported that a member of the congregation tested positive for coronavirus.

Some Episcopal churches have temporarily suspended sacramental wine during Holy Communion, among other practices that put people in close contact, such as hugging or holding hands.

Several mosques have turned their Friday prayer gatherings into coronavirus information sessions with medical professionals addressing the congregations’ concerns.

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