Shomporko Desk:-MIAMI – Health officials in Florida on Thursday counted another record high in daily confirmed COVID-19 deaths for the third consecutive day as the state faces strain to diagram new measures to battle the pandemic.
The Florida Department of Health said 253 additional deaths were accounted for, bringing its normal revealed deaths every day to 154 for the past week and raising the state’s absolute death toll to 6,586.
The head of a congressional coronavirus oversight panel sent letters to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and three other Republican governors Wednesday requesting documents to show how their states are fighting the pandemic.
According to the letter, Florida is not following three recommendations outlined in a White House coronavirus task force report by allowing gyms to remain open even in worst-hit Miami and Tampa, permitting a larger capacity for indoor dining and not limiting social gatherings. The report hasn’t been made public.
The request by South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, a Democrat, comes days after White House coronavirus task force leader Dr. Deborah Birx implored leaders to close bars and for residents to wear masks.
The letter also says Florida is only partially complying with three other guidelines by not mandating masks in all counties with rising test positivity singling out Polk County as one that is currently not requiring the use of facial coverings. DeSantis has refused to issue a statewide mask mandate.
Florida’s efforts to keep the outbreak under control have been complicated by Tropical Storm Isaias, projected to head north along the state’s east coast over the weekend. Emergency officials have announced that they will close state-run COVID-19 testing sites late Thursday and through the weekend as a precaution.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Florida reported each day remains high, at 9,956, with a cumulative tally of infections now surpassing 460,000.
But the number of patients treated for COVID-19 in Florida hospitals continued to decline Thursday, with 8,425 logged in the state’s online census in the late morning — down about 300 from the previous day and down more than 1,000 from peak levels last week.
Photo credit: Jonah Hinebaugh/Tampa Bay Times via AP
News source: The Associated Press