Walt Disney World will close all of its hotels in Florida due to growing concern over the new coronavirus, the company announced early Monday.
In a tweet, the company said the hotels would not close until 5 p.m. on Friday to give guests time to arrange other accommodations. The company also said all Disney stores nationwide will close on Tuesday, including in Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida, and Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California. To help contain the spread of the disease, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens closed on Sunday night for at least two weeks.
The move was announced as cases of COVID-19 increased to more than 130 cases in Florida on Sunday. On Friday, officials had said there were more than 60 cases and by Saturday, about 100. Three people have died from the novel coronavirus in Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday evening announced that a drive-thru testing facility would soon open at a hospital in South Florida's Broward County, the hardest-hit county from the coronavirus, as the state seeks to boost testing capacity.
More than 170 National Guard personnel have deployed in Broward County, and 300 additional Guard members were soon to be activated to help with drive-thru testing.
DeSantis said Florida should brace for even more infections and he again urged residents — particularly younger people on spring break — to exercise caution and refrain from gathering in crowds.
In Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale — popular among college students on spring break — officials said Sunday that they would close off some popular beaches and ordered "non-essential" businesses to close by 10 p.m. to prevent large crowds from forming.
The drive-thru testing facility will be set up in cooperation with the Memorial Healthcare System's hospital in Miramar. Broward County has more than 30 confirmed infections.
The virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, for most people, but older adults and those with existing health problems can develop severe complications, including pneumonia. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
State officials said they were preparing to set up mobile hospitals to help boost testing capacity, should the number of infections surge beyond the ability of the state's hospitals to handle the caseload.
“We're going to work really hard to get this up and running as soon as possible,” DeSantis said at a news conference Sunday evening. The tests will be free to patients, DeSantis said.