TIMELINE: Coronavirus March 19

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Watch our in-depth coverage in the video below:

11 p.m. update

Canaveral National Seashore has announced it will close for an undisclosed amount of time.

Also, effective Friday, Cocoa Beach has announced there will be a temporary ban on consuming or possession of alcohol in an effort to reduce crowds on the beach. Violations will result in a $500 fine.

8:27 p.m. update

The University of Central Florida said one of its students has tested positive for COVID-19.

School officials said they believe the student has been off campus since March 9 and the risk of anyone who came into contact with him developing symptoms is low.

Officials said a military contractor who works at the Partnership IV Building in the Central Florida Research Park adjacent to the main campus has also tested positive for the coronavirus.

6:32 p.m. update

Volusia County officials said vehicle beach access ramps in New Smyrna Beach will be closed starting Friday. No cars will be on beaches.

Officials said it also applies to the rest of Volusia County on Saturday and Sunday as a way to control crowds.

6:16 p.m. update

There are now 432 cases of coronavirus in Florida. 393 cases are Florida residents and 39 are not, according to the Florida Department of Health.

One person has died from the virus bringing the total to nine people in Florida, the Florida Department of Health said.

See the full county-by-county breakdown below:


  • Brevard: 3 (2 earlier today)
  • Lake: 3 (2 earlier today)
  • Orange: 19 (15 earlier today)
  • Osceola: 13 (9 earlier today)
  • Sumter: 2 (1 earlier today)


  • Seminole: 8
  • Volusia: 9
  • Flagler: 0
  • Marion: 0
  • Polk: 4

5:20 p.m. update

Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about how many testing kits are available for the state. He also talked about the testing facility that will be in Broward County.

DeSantis said Broward County is the epicenter of the virus.

Testing is going to be focused on people who are 65 or older, those who have symptoms of the virus and those who have recently traveled, according to DeSantis.

Officials are also urging younger people to practice social distancing in an effort to help those who are more susceptible and stop the spread of the virus.

5:00 p.m. update

Gov. Ron DeSantis will be holding a press conference in Broward County on coronavirus Thursday afternoon.

Watch it live on Channel 9 or click here to tune in.

4:53 p.m. update

Palm Bay officials said all Palm Bay facilities will be closed to the public for health and safety reasons. The closure will extend through April 15.

4:43 p.m. update

The Orange County Tax Collector’s Office said it will be closed to the public starting Friday at 5 p.m. until further notice.

“The well-being of our employees, their families and the public is my top priority,” Tax collector Scott Randolph said. “Because most of our services are available online or by mail, and in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, our offices will close, and we will execute our continuity of business plan.”

Officials said all non-essential personnel will be sent home Friday evening at the close of business and essential personnel will either work from home or at the tax collector’s administrative office in downtown Orlando beginning Monday.

The tax collector’s call center will remain operational with limited staff. All full-time employees will be paid their regular salary for the duration of the closure.

Orange County residents can perform most services online or by mail.

3:45 p.m. update

The Department of State announced Thursday that is is advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

2:25 p.m. update

Gov. DeSantis gave an update on the positive cases in Florida. There are 390 positive cases of coronavirus in Florida, which includes 360 Florida residents.

DeSantis also said swabs have come in to help with testing. There are several areas that are unable to test due to the lack of swabs.

DeSantis said he is going to Broward County to discuss how mass testing will work in the county.

2:12 p.m. update

Gov. Ron DeSantis said mass testing is expected to start Friday and 2,500 testing kits have been distributed in the state so far.


1:46 p.m. update

Gov. Ron DeSantis will be giving an update on coronavirus Thursday afternoon.

Watch Channel 9 or click here to tune in once it starts.

12:25 p.m. update

Publix announced Thursday that it is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 to 8 a.m. as senior shopping hours for customers age 65 and over.

Officials said the change in hours will begin Tuesday, March 24, and continue until further notice. Publix Pharmacy will also open at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to serve the senior population.

“Publix is offering these expanded hours to better support our elder community,” the company said in a news release.

For more information: http://spr.ly/61801tHcq

Posted by Publix on Thursday, March 19, 2020

12:20 p.m. update

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that a common drug used to fight malaria has shown great promise in treating people infected with COVID-19.

The drug, chloroquine, is a medication used to prevent and to treat malaria, as well as a type of liver infection.

12:05 p.m. update

11:50 a.m. update

READ: Coronavirus: What is chloroquine and can the 1940s drug work against the virus?

11:20 a.m. update

The Florida Department of Health announced Thursday morning that there are now 390 Florida cases of COVID-19, up from 328 Wednesday night.

That includes four new cases in Orange County, one new case in Osceola County and one new case in Seminole County.

No new deaths related to the virus have been reported.

See the full county-by-county breakdown below:


  • Orange: 15 (11 last night)
  • Osceola: 9 (8 last night)
  • Seminole: 8 (7 last night)


  • Volusia: 9
  • Brevard: 2
  • Lake: 2
  • Sumter: 1
  • Flagler: 0
  • Marion: 0

>>>INTERACTIVE MAP: Coronavirus cases in Florida<<<

11:15 a.m. update

We are standing by for a news conference from White House officials to start.


10:55 a.m. update

White House officials are scheduled to provide an update on the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. at 11 a.m.

10:35 a.m. update

Stocks are opening with modest losses on Wall Street, a break from recent wild swings over recession worries, according to The Associated Press. The Dow started off 1%.

READ: ‘This is NOT a hurricane’: Emergency officials remind Floridians they don’t need to stockpile bulk amounts of water, toilet paper

10:30 a.m. update

The Lake County Citizen Information Line is now open. Residents can call 352-742-4830 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with any coronavirus, COVID-19, questions or concerns.

10:10 a.m. update

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to help keep toll collectors safe, the Florida Department of Transportation announced that it will temporarily stop accepting cash as a form of payment for tolls.

FDOT said tolls will still be required, but they will be collected electronically. The change goes into effect at noon Thursday

Officials said SunPass and interoperable customers will continue to have tolls posted to their accounts, but vehicles without SunPass will be billed for tolls at the posted cash rate through a toll enforcement invoice in the mail. FDOT said the $2.50 administrative fee for those invoices will be waived.

FDOT said customers will still be able to use the “Exact Coin Lanes” where there is no toll operator present to remit pay with coins.

READ: Coronavirus live updates: Worldwide cases swell past 222,600 as global death toll tops 9,000

9:48 a.m. update:

OneBlood and YMCA officials are urging people to donate blood after concerns over the coronavirus has negatively impacted the local and national blood supply.

Several YMCA locations around Central Florida are offering gift cards in exchange for blood donations.

Click here to find a location near you.

4:32 a.m. update:

A regional testing site for COVID-19 at the Orange County Convention Center will be operational in the next 48 hours, according to Florida health officials. Deliverables will be put into place and the site will be managed by the National Guard.

A smaller-scale testing site in the Alafaya Trail area is also set to open with appointments for people who qualify to be tested.

Read: Hotels to close, number of positive COVID-19 cases expected to grow in Orange County, mayor says

The facilities are for people who qualify for testing and people won’t be able to just drive up and get swabbed. They need to meet the CDC criteria in order to qualify for testing.

Download the WFTV news app and watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates on this developing story, or click here to have updates sent straight to your inbox.

Christopher Boyce, WFTV.com

Christopher Boyce joined WFTV in January of 2019.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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