Florida coronavirus map The number of new cases continues to rise across the state.
Graphic via Desiree Tapia for The Americano

More than 402,000 cases of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus were reported in the Sunshine State as of Friday. 

FLORIDA – On Friday Florida’s Department of Health (DOH) announced 12,444 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising the state total to 402,312. Residents now account for 397,470 total cases,  with non-residents accounting for 4,842 confirmed cases of the illness. Also reported were 135 fatalities, which raises the state total to 5,653 deaths. 

One additional non-resident death was announced, bringing the state’s non-resident toll to 115.

According to the latest update from the Florida Department of Health, the breakdown of cases by county is as follows:

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Miami-Dade County saw 3,362 additional confirmed cases, bringing the county total to 98,430. Sixteen new deaths were also reported, raising the number of fatalities to 1,370.

Broward County reported 1,566 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The county now has 46,576 confirmed cases. Ten new deaths were announced, which raises the number of fatalities to 546.

Palm Beach County saw 737 additional confirmed cases. The county total is now 29,004.  Seventeen new deaths were reported, bringing the total to 744.

Monroe County announced 84 additional cases of coronavirus and no new deaths. The Florida Keys currently have 1,082 confirmed cases of the illness and six deaths.

The numbers of new cases and fatalities across the state may be undercounted, as the Florida Department of Health (DOH) may take up to two weeks to report the number of positive results from private labs. Similarly, in the past, the number of fatalities issued by the Medical Examiner’s Office has consistently been 10% higher than reported.

Rebekah Jones, the Florida government data scientist who was fired from the DOH, where she created and managed the state’s coronavirus dashboard, has created her own COVID-19 board, a parallel site that she claims will reveal the numbers that the state has not been reporting.

COVID-19 Scare for DeSantis’ Staff

After a staff member of governor Ron DeSantis’ Office of Policy and Budget tested positive for COVID-19, several staff members were sent home Thursday, the Miami Herald reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that “employers should not require sick employees to provide a COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or return to work.” 

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“The employee in question was told not to return to work until they tested negative for COVID-19,’’ said Meredith Beatrice, spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis, adding that  the employee went to work anyway, “and was immediately sent home.”

Despite Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees speaking out on the importance of wearing masks, DeSantis has not required state employees to wear masks at work, and employees who prefer to work from home must use sick leave to do so, unless they get approval from a supervisor, according to the Herald.

CDC Recommendations for Cloth Face Masks

Fabric face masks will not completely protect against contracting COVID-19, but according to  the CDC they can help “slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

The CDC says that cloth face masks/coverings should be worn by all people two years of age and older in public settings and around people who don’t live in their household. The masks/covering also should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Completely cover the nose and mouth
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

This story is updated once a week to reflect the most recent Coronavirus cases confirmed in Florida.