More than 2,000 Floridians have been hospitalized with the novel coronavirus after nearly 200 people were admitted to hospitals Wednesday.
Nearly 100 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Now 475 people connected to those facilities have tested positive.
The state has now confirmed 15,698 people in Florida with COVID-19, including 464 non-Florida residents tested and isolated in the state. Between Tuesday evening’s report and the latest report, the state confirmed 951 additional people with the virus.
South Florida remains the largest hot spot of the disease in the state. More than half of the state’s coronavirus cases are in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
In Miami-Dade, 5,461 people have contracted the virus, an increase of 335 over Tuesday evening. Miami alone has 3,317 of those cases. Broward has 2,365 cases, up from 2,230, and Palm Beach has 1,224, up from 1,159.
Speaking at the Miami Beach Convention Center Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said officials plan to open a new field hospital at the convention center to treat people who contract the coronavirus. At opening, the field hospital will have 50 intensive care unit beds and another 400 hospital beds available, but Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez hopes the region’s outbreak won’t necessitate the field hospital.
The elderly and people with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, are the most at risk for a severe case. While people 65 and older make up less than a quarter of confirmed cases, 55% of those hospitalized are at least 65, as were 82% of those who passed away.
In long-term care facilities, the 95 new cases constituted a 25% increase over the 380 total cases Tuesday. The rate of daily new cases in long-term care facilities began increasing at the start of this month.
Martin County became the latest county to report its first fatality from the coronavirus. Palm Beach County has the largest concentration of deadly cases with 69.
Despite DOH’s report suggesting all of Florida’s 67 counties have a resident confirmed with the coronavirus, Liberty County now stands alone as the sole COVID-19-free county. Lafayette County confirmed its first case Wednesday afternoon.
Coronavirus cases have penetrated the state prison system, with now five inmates and 40 staffers testing positive, according to the Department of Corrections.
President Donald Trump‘s administration could relax coronavirus guidelines as early as Wednesday to make it easier for Americans who have been exposed but have no symptoms to return to work, particularly those in essential jobs. Under the expected new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those exposed to someone who was infected would be allowed back to work if they are asymptomatic, take their temperature twice a day and wear a face mask, said a person familiar with the proposal under consideration.
And U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is supporting a review of U.S. funding for the World Health Organization after the President floated putting a hold on that money. Rubio argued the Chinese government use the global health organization to mislead the world in a statement issued late Tuesday.
Below are the 14 deaths reported since Wednesday morning and the county’s death toll to date:
Broward: 60 total
— 88-year-old male
— 30-year-old female
Citrus: 5 total
— 74-year-old female who had contact with a known case
— 84-year-old male who had traveled to the Caribbean
— 88-year-old male who had contact with a known case
Escambia: 3 total
— 91-year-old male who had contact with a known case
Highlands: 4 total
— 61-year-old male who had traveled to New Jersey
Manatee: 8 total
— 81-year-old male
Martin: 1 total
— 77-year-old male
Miami-Dade: 50 total
— 86-year-old male
Orange: 11 total
— 88-year-old male
Pinellas: 10 total
— 56-year-old female
Polk: 6 total
— 77-year-old female
Sarasota: 8 total
— 88-year-old female