Experts are predicting that Florida will hit the 1 million mark in positive COVID-19 cases this week, and there are concerns nationwide about the impacts from potential spread that may have occurred during the Thanksgiving holidays.
The Florida Department of Health had recorded more than 992,660 positive cases of COVID-19, including 976,944 positive residents, according to health department figures available on the morning of Nov. 30.
The death toll stood at 18,500 for Florida residents and 236 for non-residents, according to the same report.
Hillsborough County had 57,673 positive cases, involving county residents, and 419 cases involving non-residents. The county has recorded 929 deaths related to COVID-19.
In Pasco County, there were 14,643 positive cases involving residents, and 140 involving non-residents. The death toll stood at 271.
The latest figures for the Pasco and Hillsborough public school districts had not yet been updated, since the districts were out for the Thanksgiving break.
The most recent figures from those districts show that there had been 475 student cases and 177 staff cases in Pasco County Schools. The positive cases affected a total of 8,265 students and 719 staff, who had to be quarantined.
In Hillsborough Public Schools, there was a total of 1,585 positive cases, including 640 staff members and 945 students.
Across the country, millions of Americans stuck to their plans to travel over the Thanksgiving holidays, despite pleas from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for them to stay home.
At Tampa International Airport, 40,000 passengers streamed through checkpoints on the Sunday before Thanksgiving — the greatest number since air traffic plunged in late March and early April, due to the pandemic, according to Emily Nipps, the airport’s manager of communications.
“To put it in perspective, we saw around 80,000 passengers on our busy days this time last year. So we’re still barely seeing about half of the traffic we saw this time in 2019. However, we’re way up from the few thousand daily passengers we saw at our low point in April,” Nipps said, via email.
She also noted that “the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving are always our busiest – we ‘think’ we’ll see between 40,000 and 50,000 passengers on those days, though our projections are not as accurate as they’ve been in years past because of the uncertainty of travelers, COVID, cancellations, etc.”
Meanwhile, the state health department, the Florida Hospital Association, the Florida Medical Association and health insurance companies are urging the public to get flu shots. The groups want to help prevent severe illnesses and to keep Florida’s health care system from being overwhelmed by flu and COVID-19 cases.
While Florida’s positive cases approach the 1-million mark, the national figures for positive cases surpassed 13.1 million cases and the national death toll exceeded 265,000 as of the morning of Nov. 30, according to the CDC.
Internationally, the number of positive cases is approaching 62.2 million, with a death toll nearing 1.5 million, also as of the morning of Nov. 30, according to the World Health Organization.
Also, in national interviews, numerous health experts have said there may be a lag time before the extent of the impact is known, regarding the spread of COVID-19 related to Thanksgiving traveling and festivities.
Help prevent the spread of COVID-19
Avoid these high-risk activities:
- Shopping in crowded stores
- Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
- Using alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
Follow these safety protocols:
- Stay 6 feet away from others
- Wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible
- Wash hands frequently
Source: Florida Department of Health
Published December 02, 2020