Florida sees spike in coronavirus cases while approaching new reopening phase

Florida saw a spike in coronavirus cases Thursday, with 1,419 new instances reported, according to the Florida Department of Health -- the highest daily increase since early March.

Florida has had more than 60,000 coronavirus cases, and has seen a three-day trend in increases as it pushes to initiate phase two of reopening its economy.

Forty-one deaths were also confirmed Thursday, bringing the state’s coronavirus death toll to morethan 2,600.

“Florida’s targeted and data-driven approach to fighting COVID-19 and our actions to protect the most vulnerable have flattened the curve in Florida,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement Wednesday.

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DeSantis is still moving forward with phase two of reopening, set to begin Friday. Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate with a greater capacity, retail stores and gyms are allowed to be opened at full capacity, and personal services like tattoo parlors and spas are allowed to partially reopen.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach -- which have had the highest coronavirus case counts -- will remain in phase one until further notice.

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Several sites in Florida are now offering free antibody testing to anyone over the age of 18, with some sites able to test up to 125 people a day.

Florida received $252 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Wednesday to assist with coronavirus-related expenses from mid-March through April.

“These additional federal funds will further our efforts to expedite critical projects as we move forward our safe, smart, step-by-step plan for Florida’s recovery,” DeSantis said.

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Florida declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus on March 9. President Trump then declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency on March 13.

The Florida governor’s office, along with the Department of Health, could not immediately be reached for comment.