Florida Cases Climb to 136 —Nearly Half Concentrated in South Florida

Florida Coronavirus cases increase

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By Giselle Balido

March 16, 2020

As more test kits arrive, new social distancing rules, cancellations and closings are implemented. 

Coronavirus continues to cut a swath across the state of Florida. According to the Florida Department of Health (FDH), as of Sunday, March 15th, the number of diagnosed cases in the state jumped to 136 residents and 13 non-Florida residents. Nearly half the state’s cases are concentrated in South Florida, with 36 in Broward County alone. The deaths have climbed to 4 residents, while 6 residents that have been diagnosed are being isolated outside the state. 

Testing Kits Sent to Hospitals

After the Centers for Disease Control’s in-house testing kits were found to give faulty results, the state has received 1,000 of 2,500 new test kits from Integrated DNA Testing, an Iowa firm. In an address on Sunday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said another 500 coronavirus testing kits have been sent to hospitals and private labs around the state. What remains unclear: the breakdown of which hospitals received which quantities of kits. County health departments will also be receiving kits. During his address, Mr. DeSantis stressed the COVID-19 test would be free to the patient. 

As Spring Breakers Flood Miami Beach, City Orders Curfew

Beginning Monday, March 16th, Miami Beach will be under an 11 p.m. curfew. This covers eleven blocks of South Beach’s Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue, the epicenters of the city’s entertainment district. Public beaches in South Beach, from Fifth through 15th streets, including Lummus Park, will also be shut down by the city, which is ordering every bar, restaurant and retailer to close early. It is also urging bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to decrease their capacity by 50 percent. Some businesses, however, are exempt. These include pharmacies, grocery stores, medical centers, banks and gas stations. This comes on the heels of other cancellations, including the Ultra Music Festival, Calle Ocho Festival, and HistoryMiami Museum’s Map Fair in Miami. An attendee at the yearly Winter Party Festival (held March 4 through 10th) tested positive for COVID-19, Rea Carey, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, announced on Sunday. The festival was held at different venues across the city, including Exchange Miami, Treehouse, and at an installation on the sands of South Beach, as well as in Wynwood and Wilton Manors in Broward County. The attendee did not experience symptoms during the event and it is unclear if they contracted the virus at the festival, Carey said in a statement. Attendees are advised to continue monitoring their health. If they test positive, they should email organizers.

Court Business Suspended

The Florida Supreme Court has issued an order suspending most court business starting Monday and extending through March 27. The suspension includes grand juries, jury selection, and criminal and civil trials. Exceptions to the order are bond hearings and arraignments. However, according to the court’s statements, judges may use electronic means for those proceedings. The order may be “extended or modified as needed in the future,” the statement reads.

Church Services Go Online                    

Some Central Florida churches are holding services and other events as coronavirus cases continue to rise. These include All Saints Episcopal Church and St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, both  in Winter Winter Park, Crossroads Community Church in Orlando, and Discover Life Church in Melbourne.  


CATEGORIES: Coronavirus | Florida | Health | Safety


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