Florida coronavirus death toll tops 13,000; 3,200+ cases added

The Florida Department of Health reported another 147 Florida resident deaths, bringing the statewide total to 13,086. 

The number of confirmed positive cases in the state rose by 3,255, pushing the Florida total to 674,456 infected. 

The Florida Department of Health has not reported a daily increase above 10,000 infections since late July.

Public health departments, which have struggled for months to test and trace everyone exposed to the novel coronavirus, are now being told to prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as early as Nov. 1.

In a four-page memo this summer, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told health departments across the country to draft vaccination plans by Oct. 1 “to coincide with the earliest possible release of COVID-19 vaccine.”

RELATED: Medical experts concerned US not ready for COVID-19 vaccine

But health departments that have been underfunded for decades say they currently lack the staff, money and tools to educate people about vaccines and then to distribute, administer and track doses to some 330 million people. Nor do they know when, or if, they’ll get federal aid to do that.

“There is a tremendous amount of work to be done to be prepared for this vaccination program and it will not be complete by Nov. 1,” said Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of immunization education at the Immunization Action Coalition, a national vaccine education and advocacy organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota. “States will need more financial resources than they have now.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday it was reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 860,000, a historically high figure that reflects economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak.

Before the pandemic hit the economy, the number signing up for jobless aid had never exceeded 700,000 in a week, even during the depths of the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

RELATED: Officials detail plan to provide COVID-19 vaccines for free

When it comes to the economy in Central Florida, nearly 5,400 furloughed employees at Universal Orlando will not return to work anytime soon, a notice filed with the state revealed on Wednesday. 

Universal Orlando Resort filed a notice on September 4th stating that 5,389 furloughed employees will remain out of work.