The story hasn’t changed in the last week regarding the increase in Florida coronavirus cases. The state of Florida reported 3,286 new cases, including 67 new ones in Osceola County, a new daily high. Osceola has now logged 1,147 cases over three months and a week.
Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared in Orlando Tuesday afternoon with Orlando Health officials to talk about what the extent of the virus looks like in the community and in hospital settings. He and Dr. George Ralls, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, talked about much broader testing at sites and in hospitals since March.
“It’s where we’ve let our guard down,” Ralls said of rising numbers of cases, particularly in younger demographics. “It’s attributed to people attending social gatherings without masks, without social distancing, and not from businesses opening safely.”
Sunil Desai, president of Orlando Health, said about half of the 54 COVID-19 patients seen in April at Orlando Health were on a ventilator. Currently, in the Florida health system there are 108 patients, three of which require a ventilator.
But, hospital officials said Orlando Health has capacity for everyone, and they haven’t had to tap into surge capability, even with the number of cases rising.
“Hospitals have seen an increase in patients in hospital beds due to elective surgeries and people who put off acute care during the past couple months,” Ralls said. “If you looked last year, our capacity would be about the same.”
DeSantis said a crackdown on businesses open beyond capacity, where spread of cases is documented. The state’s Department of Business Practices and Regulation has already shut down a bar near UCF where 28 patrons and 13 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at 50 percent indoor capacity under Phase II.
“There’s no tolerance for full restaurants and bars. We’ll just go in an pull (liquor and occupational) licenses and move on,” he said.
DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears said state officers will be out in the evenings checking bars and restaurants for compliance.
“We are going to issue a warning to those that are trying to do the best they can, but that’s not what we’re talking about,” he said Tuesday. “The ones that are flagrant, flaunting the rules, we will be suspending their license.”