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With Governor Ron DeSantis pushing forward with mandatory school reopenings next month, Florida’s pandemic response center experienced a shock on Thursday when it was forced to close in-person operations following a substantial outbreak at its headquarters in Tallahassee. According to one official who spoke with the Washington Post, 13 staffers at the coronavirus response center have tested positive for the coronavirus. The center will be closed until at least Monday.
Recording over 10,000 cases in six of the past seven days, Florida is currently the global epicenter of the pandemic: On Sunday, it broke the record for new daily cases by any state, with over 15,000. Though DeSantis claimed this week that the state’s outbreak had “stabilized,” on Thursday Florida set its single-day death record, with 156 fatalities. Also on Thursday, the U.S. broke its single-day record for new patients with 74,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. It was the 11th time in July that the national record had been surpassed, with the new high surpassing the previous one by a little over 9 percent.
As a result of the surge of cases in Florida, the Republican National Convention — scheduled to be held in the last week of August in Jacksonville — announced on Thursday that the Party intended to restrict attendance for the bulk of the four-day event to delegates only. As CBS News reports: “Each delegate, their guests and alternate delegates will be able to attend the convention on August 27, when President Trump will formally accept the Republican nomination.” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel did not say if masks would be required by attendees, though late last month Jacksonville ordered them to be worn in public spaces.