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Coronavirus Latest For 3/22: Florida cases surpass 1,000; Orange County to provide rental assistance

Florida's coronavirus surveillance map shows the presence of COVID-19 in many of the state's 67 counties.
Florida's coronavirus surveillance map shows the presence of COVID-19 in many of the state's 67 counties.

Updated at 7:45 p.m.

Florida coronavirus cases increase to 1,007

By Joe Byrnes, WMFE

Florida's reported cases of COVID-19 exceeded 1,000 on Sunday evening.

The total number of coronavirus cases was 1,007, a 32% increase over 24 hours. Thirteen have died in Florida from the virus.

Updated at 7:13 p.m.

Orlando police officer tests positive for coronavirus

An Orlando police officer has tested positive for the coronavirus.

OPD Police Chief Orlando Rolón says the officer experienced flu-like symptoms earlier this month and went into self-quarantine.

He said the officer no longer has symptoms but remains in a 14-day self-quarantine. So are personnel who had contact with the officer.

Updated at 6:25 p.m.

Orange County to offer limited rental assistance

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced rental assistance for county residents who have lost their paycheck due to COVID-19.

A crisis assistance hotline will open Monday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. for residents needing help with rental or utility payments. The number is 407-836-6500.

"Because of the hardship in our community caused by furloughs and work stoppage, we are offering COVID-19 rental assistance to residents of Orange County," Deming said during a press conference Sunday afternoon. "This is a one-time benefit for one month's rent assistance for Orange County residents only."

The mayor says the rental assistance is not for everyone, only for county residents who have lost their employment.

Updated at 3:54 p.m.

Drive-through testing coming next week, will only screen "high-risk" individuals

Brendan Byrne, WMFE

The Florida Department of Health says only high-risk individuals will be eligible for testing at drive-through testing sites opening this week -- including one at the Orange County Convention Center. 

Only high-risk individuals will be eligible for the drive-through testing site. Initially, that includes anyone 65 years or older with a temperature above 99.6° and  showing respiratory symptoms.

The sites will also test all first responders and healthcare workers, regardless of any symptoms.

Individuals do not need a referral from a doctor to be tested. Anyone who meets the criteria will be tested, regardless of insurance.

Updated at 12:42 a.m.

State emergency director says more masks, hospital beds and medical staff on the way

Brendan Byrne, WMFE

Florida Division of Emergency Management director Jared Moskowitz says some of the critical supplies for health care workers are on the way.

He said the state has procured 3,000 additional hospital beds and has 300 additional nurses and 300 National Guard medics on standby to help with any hospital facing a surge of patients.

The state was facing a shortage of N-95 masks. Moskowitz said the state received 300,000 masks Saturday and expects around 2,000,000 more to arrive over the next two weeks.

The state will unroll mobile testing for COVID-19 this week, prioritizing health care workers and people over 65 years old.

Updated at 12:15 p.m.

Florida's positive tests for coronavirus increase by 9% overnight

By Joe Byrnes, WMFE

The total number of people testing positive for coronavirus rose by 9 percent overnight.

Florida now reports 830 are known to have contracted COVID-19.  And one more person has died from the virus. The state has reported 13 deaths.

The update includes an increase of cases from four to six in Lake County and two to three in Marion County.

Updated at 12 p.m.

Fourth Orlando TSA worker has COVID-19

A fourth Transportation Security Administration worker at Orlando International Airport has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Federal Security Director Pete Garcia announced the new case Sunday morning.

He said the officer had not worked in the checkpoint since last Sunday and would remain out of operation until cleared by a doctor.

Updated at 11:43 a.m.

State update: 763 have tested positive as of Saturday evening

By Joe Byrnes, WMFE

Florida reported 763 total cases of coronavirus as of Saturday evening, and 12 deaths.

In Central Florida, the patients are as young as 8 and as old as 88, but the average is 50 or above in all the counties:

  • Two of the deaths occurred in Orange County, where there have been 29 cases. The patients have ranged in age from 22 to 82. Nine remain hospitalized.
  • Osceola County has 21 total cases, ranging in age from 18 to 80. Five of the patients are in the hospital.
  • Seminole County reports 12 cases of COVID-19, ranging in age from 21 to 70. Eight of the patients are hospitalized.
  • Volusia County has 11 people -- from 32 to 89 years old -- who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Five are in the hospital.
  • Polk County has 10 coronavirus patients, ranging in age from 8 to 88. Four of them are in the hospital.
  • Brevard County reports five cases, ranging in age from 31 to 76. None of them are in the hospital.
  • The positive tests in Sumter County -- the home of most of The Villages retirement community -- has risen to four. The patients, three men and one woman, range in age from 66 to 71. One person is hospitalized.
  • Lake County reports four cases, ranging in age from 26 to 80. None are hospitalized.
  • As of Sunday morning, the new numbers include a second case and third case in Marion County. The second case is a 68-year-old male resident. The third case is a 48-year-old female resident. Both have a travel history.