Plans to Reopen Florida Begin as COVID-19 Deaths Top 600

Gerald Lombardo
Posted by Gerald Lombardo
Updated on

As South Florida’s hospitals continued to grapple with COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths, Florida’s politicians are plotting a path to reopen society without reigniting the outbreak that has forced schools, businesses, and transit hubs into a prolonged lockdown.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that, with social-distancing measures on track to prevent an overwhelming spike in cases, he would establish a task force to help map Florida’s return to normalcy. He made the announcement as the state released new information showing more than 22,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 614 deaths — including 359 in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties.

“It obviously is prudent to start thinking about and planning getting people back to work and getting society functioning in a more healthy way,” DeSantis said. “There are a whole host of things we need to be thinking about.”

Florida, a state of about 20 million, has received test results for more than 200,000 — a rate of roughly 1 test per 100 residents. But the scope of Florida’s outbreak remains unclear due to an undefined backlog of pending test results and a lack of antibody testing, which can help determine whether someone was previously exposed to the novel coronavirus.

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