Florida Surpasses 26,000 Coronavirus Cases As State Death Toll Reaches 774

More than 13,100 COVID-19 cases in Miami-Dade and Broward

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What to Know

  • Since Saturday morning, 1,045 new coronavirus cases have been reported by the Department of Health
  • Of the 774 deaths reported, 207 were in Miami-Dade County, while 115 were reported in Broward County
  • Miami-Dade and Broward combined claim more than half of the state's total number of cases

Florida had over 26,000 confirmed coronavirus infections Sunday morning, with 774 COVID-19 related deaths reported.

Total cases in the state reached 26,314, with more than 3,800 people hospitalized in the state to date, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health.

The figures revealed that 1,045 new cases had been added to the Department's count since Saturday morning.

Of the 774 deaths reported, 207 were in Miami-Dade County, while 115 were reported in Broward County. Another 121 deaths were reported in Palm Beach County, with 3 deaths in Monroe county.

Miami-Dade led the state with 9,354 confirmed COVID-19 cases, about 35 percent of the state's total, followed by Broward with 3,971. Palm Beach County had 2,170 cases, and Monroe had 73.

On Sunday, Florida officials continued their efforts to expand testing for the virus as the state's first walk-up testing sites opened at two locations in Broward County.

The walk-up sites in Broward are meant to expand testing accessibility for the region's undeserved communities and people who may not have a car, or who have been otherwise unable to visit one of the state's drive-thru testing centers.

At Hard Rock Stadium, officials modified the criteria to receive testing.

The new rules allow people with underlying medical conditions to be tested regardless if they are showing symptoms.

People who have come into contact with others who’ve tested positive for the virus are also allowed to be tested regardless of symptoms - along with first responders and healthcare workers.

Also on Sunday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez asked for the public's opinion on how to reopen public spaces.

In a tweet, Gimenez said there is no timeline to reopen.

At a news conference Saturday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would be putting together a task force focused on reopening the state in three separate phases.

The task force would create short, medium and long-term recommendations, and would be comprised of small business owners and locally elected officials.

“We want to see people back to work for the long haul, we want to continue with Florida’s economic development strategy,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis says some of the topics that will be discussed include agriculture, expanded testing for the virus, theme parks, restaurants and tourism.

The full team will be announced on Monday, but the governor hinted that some mayors from southeast Florida were asked to join the team.

As far as Florida's economic troubles that have unfolded as a result of the pandemic, DeSantis said on Friday that there has been a "massive surge in resources in terms of manpower" in response to the flood of unemployment applications.

"A month ago, there were only about 30 people in the entire state taking calls, since Florida had such a low unemployment rate," he said. "Now there are 2,000 involved either taking calls or in training to be able to do that."

The governor added that 100 new servers had been brought in, and staff from the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Management Service were working "around the clock" to process hundreds of thousands of applicants.

For those who cannot access online unemployment applications, DeSantis said, the state had partnered with Federal Express to offer free printing and mailing of the applications throughout the state. He said over 20,000 paper applications had been received so far.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor said more than 180,000 workers in Florida filed claims with the state's unemployment system last week, raising the state’s total seeking jobless benefits to over a half million people since many parts of the Sunshine State went under lockdown last month.

NBC 6 and AP
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