Floridians traveling to the New York City area will be required to quarantine as Florida’s new confirmed coronavirus cases skyrocketed by 5,500, a 25% jump from the previous one-day record set last week and triple the level of just two weeks ago.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Floridians and visitors from eight other hard-hit states will have to quarantine for two weeks when they arrive in his state, Connecticut and New Jersey. For Florida, that’s a reversal from April when Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered visitors from those states into quarantine, partially blaming them for the virus’s arrival in his state.
After being an early U.S. hot spot for the disease, New York is now reporting about one-sixth the number of new cases per day on average compared with Florida, though the states have similar populations.
“We now have to make sure the rates continue to drop,” Cuomo said. “We also have to make sure the virus doesn’t come on a plane again.”
Florida’s rapidly escalating daily figures continue a trend that began when the state reopened its economy with some restrictions last month. In response, several counties and cities have implemented emergency orders requiring the wearing of masks in public places like stores and are cracking down on businesses that aren’t enforcing social distancing rules.
Broward County, the state’s second-most populous, announced that it will shut down for 24 hours any businesses that do not enforce its rule requiring masks and social distancing and restaurants that exceed the 50% capacity restriction. They will be fined $500 and repeat violators could be fined $15,000.
Like many government leaders statewide in recent days, Broward Mayor Dale Holness said that if his county’s exploding coronavirus numbers don’t slow, he fears its hospitals will be overrun with patients and will be unable to treat everyone who needs assistance. He said reclosing the economy wouldn’t be sustainable but people need to start wearing masks and social distance.
“We must do everything we can to protect ourselves and each other so we can stay healthy and somehow maintain the economy,” Holness said. Other local governments now requiring masks in public spaces include Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orange County, Palm Beach County, and the Florida Keys.
Two weeks ago, Florida’s one-day record for confirmed coronavirus cases was 1,601, set in mid-May. That has been exceeded every day since June 12 and the seven-day average for tests coming back positive has tripled from 3.8% on June 1 to 13%.
The state now has more than 109,000 confirmed cases since March 1. There have been 3,281 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, a jump of 43 since Monday. The average daily death toll has held steady in June at about 35, down from 60 in early May.
After a month of decline, hospital admissions for coronavirus also have been rising, with a daily average of 161 statewide over the past week, a 30% jump over two weeks ago. Still, that is about 25% below the state’s peak in early May.
State and health officials have said the new cases have skewed younger in recent weeks and have been more likely to be mild or asymptomatic, which has kept the hospitalization and death totals below their peaks.
They’ve cited lax adherence to state guidelines on distancing and hygiene while socializing as a key reason for the surge. More than 40 cases have been linked to a single Orlando-area college pub where state officials have since suspended the liquor license.
Doctors at a major Orlando-area hospital system said many hospitalizations in the most recent wave are less acute than during an earlier peak in April. Dr. Sunil Desai, president of the Orlando Health hospital system that has about 1,800 beds in the Orlando area, said nearly half of the COVID-19 patients were on ventilators during part of April as compared with three of the 108 patients with the virus in the system now.
Also, because COVID-19 testing is now routine for everyone coming into the system, the figures for coronavirus hospitalizations now include patients in for other reasons — a broken leg, a gunshot wound — but who happen to test positive, Dr. George Ralls said. They accounted for about 20% of cases last week, Ralls said.
Florida shatters one-day coronavirus case record with 5,500