Hoping to reopen the state’s economy as soon as possible, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the members of his ReOpen Florida Task Force are keeping a sharp eye on the twice-daily statistics published by the Florida Department of Health. State leaders, like everyone else, want to see the number of daily cases dipping lower on a consistent basis, but so far, that has not happened.
More than two weeks ago, the number of new coronavirus cases finally flatlined, a sure sign that the state’s social distancing measures were making a positive impact. The most encouraging sign so far came on April 14th, when Florida posted a low of just 609 new cases, fueling hopes that the illness was on the retreat for good. But since that day, the state has averaged 890 new cases, including 1,072 positive tests today:
The number of daily deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Florida remains fairly consistent, also showing no signs of decline. State officials now say that more than one out of every four coronavirus deaths in the state have involved residents or staff members of long-term care facilities, which have been hit disproportionately hard by the outbreak.
On a positive note, Florida’s hospital system will not be overwhelmed at the current rate of infections. Today’s daily admissions are down slightly from yesterday, and definitely not growing at an exponential rate. DeSantis even noted in a press conference this week that all the models predicting mayhem in our health care system have been proven wrong. The state built emergency hospital tents in South Florida, but DeSantis said not a single bed was ever used and the state now has even more bed capacity because hospitals are seeing fewer patients with other ailments. Here’s the hospitalization chart (note -the dips in hospitalizations coincide with weekends):
Based on what we’re seeing, it’s likely we can expect continued stay-at-home orders for the rest of April, and a slow return to “normal” slated for early May. Expect masks in public places, wider than normal separation between people and groups at public gatherings, and other related measures to become the new normal until the threat is significantly lower.