FL nears 300,000 mark for COVID-19 cases; ‘Social distancing may be difficult to achieve’ in some schools

Drive-through coronavirus screening sites continue to pop up around Florida. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida is headed toward the 300,000 mark for COVID-19 infections, with 269,811 cases reported Sunday by the Florida Department of Health.

Overall, 15,300 new cases were reported. If those kind of numbers continue, Florida could reach 300,000 infections in a matter of days.

The department also pointed out a record number of COVID-19 test results in one day — 142,981 — and 11.25 percent of new cases tested positive. That represents a “third-day decline in percent positivity of new cases,” according to the department.

With infections rising, Florida has the 4th highest number of cases of the 50 states, very close to Texas, which has the 3rd highest number, according to tracking by the New York Times.

Florida is now 12th among the 50 states in an analysis by infections per 100,000 people, the Times reported. New York and New Jersey have the highest numbers in that analysis.

Florida reported another 45 COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, totaling 4,242 resident deaths from the new coronavirus. Of the total deaths, 2,100 staffers or residents of a long-term care facilities died.

Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. Credit: Miami-Dade School District website.

With the numbers climbing and the new school year looming, Miami-Dade School Supt. Alberto M. Carvalho discussed Florida’s situation on Sunday’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.”

“You know, the issue of social distancing in any one school in Miami-Dade or Broward or Palm Beach or other districts may be difficult to achieve,” said Carvalho, whose district, at some 350,000 students, has the largest public school enrollment in Florida.

Miami-Dade also has the largest number of infections and deaths from COVID-19, according to state health data.

“But there are mitigation strategies that you can take in lieu of the six-feet of distancing like the wearing of masks, which will be a mandatory element when we do reopen, like the use of nontraditional spaces, like cafeterias or media centers or gymnasiums,” Carvalho said.

Despite the infusion of federal and state dollars, Carvalho also addressed the need for more funds during the pandemic, for everything from personal protective equipment, enhanced disinfection of schools, and possibly more bus routes “to achieve greater social distancing between the riders.”

Carvalho added:

“Our start of the school year is six weeks from now. It is quite possible if the social behavior and the restrictions in place, if people wear masks, if people exercise social distancing that conditions may be appropriate and healthy for students to return to the very best model of teaching and learning which is in-person. But we need the community’s collaboration, we need the science to drive the practice rather than politics influencing what is legitimately a community concern.”