Timeline: Coronavirus updates March 31


See our in-depth coverage below:

6:45 p.m. update

The Florida Department of Health reported eight more deaths and 403 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Tuesday morning.

Officials said there are now a total of 6,741 cases and 85 deaths in the state, that is compared to 6,338 cases and 77 deaths this morning.

Of the cases, 6,490 involved Florida residents and 251 involve nonresidents.

Read: Coronavirus: Guy Fieri, National Restaurant Association launch fund for restaurant employees

See a county-by-county breakdown of cases below:

• Orange: 373 (an increase of 10 since this morning)

• Seminole: 103 (an increase of four since this morning)

• Volusia: 80 (an increase of five since this morning)

• Brevard: 37 (an increase of three since this morning)

• Osceola: 110 (an increase of three since this morning)

• Lake: 66 (an increase of seven since this morning

• Sumter: 51 (an increase of two since this morning)

• Flagler: 18 (an increase of one since this morning)

The following counties reported no changes:

Marion: 25 cases

Polk 73 cases

Click here to see a statewide map of reported coronavirus cases.

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.

6:10 p.m. update

Orange County Government said it is closing its rental assistance program at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The county said it made the decision because it received an overwhelming response from residents.

Read: Orange County to end rental assistance program after overwhelming response

Officials told Channel 9 that more than 20,000 people have applied for the program since it launched March 20 and that each of those applications will be processed.

They said they have already scheduled appointments with almost 500 people and have dispersed fewer than 50 checks so far. Click here to read more.

5:30 p.m. update

President Donald Trump is giving a live update on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic from the press briefing room in the White House.


Click here to watch him speak live on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

Read: Coronavirus: Do we all need to wear masks? The CDC is considering it

5:20 p.m. update

President Donald Trump will soon give a live update on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to watch him speak live on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

4:45 p.m. update

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is giving a live update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to watch him speak live on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

4:05 p.m. update

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will give a live update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to watch his news conference live on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

3:25 p.m. update

Orange County officials said they will eliminate the 65 or older age requirement for its coronavirus testing centers as long as people are either showing symptoms or have underlying conditions.

This change in testing requirements will go into effect Wednesday, officials said.

Clearance from the federal government allowed the change to be made.

There is still no limitation on testing for health care workers and first responders.

1:45 p.m. update

President Trump and Congress recently singed off on a $2 trillion emergency stimulus package to provide financial aid for Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Read: 9 things to know about delivery of stimulus checks

Click here to read everything you need to know about the stimulus checks.

12:55 p.m. update

The U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday that it's working with Holland America on a detailed docking plan that would require two ships carrying passengers and crew from an ill-fated cruise to handle all medical issues without impacting South Florida's already-stressed hospitals.

If a "unified command" of state, local and federal officials can't unanimously adopt the plan, they'll punt a decision to Washington, Coast Guard Captain Jo-Ann Burdian said.

Read: Holland America ship with 42 people with flu-like symptoms to dock in Florida amid coronavirus pandemic

"There are no great choices left. These are all tough outcomes....the last thing we want to do is execute a plan that someone doesn't agree with," she told the Broward County Commmision during an emergency meeting on the fate of the Zaandam and its sister ship, the Rotterdam.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony called the decision a “humanitarian crisis” and asked commissioners not to vote based on emotion. Allowing the ship to dock here would burden the local healthcare system and put residents at risk of additional exposure, he warned.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Coronavirus cases in Florida

“This ship has been turned away from several countries already. We are the United States of America and we have never turned away people in need or those that are sick but we are in some very, very critical circumstances where we as a county are going to have to determine are we willing to take on this responsibility.”

12 p.m.

The Florida Department of Health says there are 6,338 total cases of coronavirus right now. That is up from 5,704 last night. 77 people have died, increasing from 71 last night.

Here are the details:

  • 6,096 confirmed cases in Florida residents (5,489 last night)
  • 242 cases in non-Florida residents (215 last night)

>>Watch Channel 9 News at Noon LIVE right now<<

Here is a county by county breakdown of the new information. The counties are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Brevard County: 34 cases (32 last night)
  • Flagler County: 17 cases (15 last night)
  • Lake County: 59 cases (50 last night)
  • Marion County: 25 cases (23 last night)
  • Orange County: 363 cases (300 last night)
  • Osceola County: 107 cases (94 last night)
  • Polk County: 73 cases
  • Seminole County: 99 cases (88 last night)
  • Sumter County: 49 cases (47 last night)
  • Volusia County: 75 cases (69 last night)

Click here to see the map managed by the Florida Department of Health

11:45 a.m.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil has hit its lowest price since 2002, dropping roughly two thirds this quarter. This is partly why gas in Florida is so cheap right now.

ÚLTIMA HORA, CORONAVIRUS EN FLORIDA CENTRAL: Comisionados se reúnen para acordar que pasará con crucero con enfermos de COVID-19 cerca de Florida

11:20 a.m.

7-Eleven will install sneeze guards at registers to protect its employees and customers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was made simultaneously with its donation of 1 million masks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help the medical community in its battle with the coronavirus.

The Irving, Texas, based company says it has provided all its stores and franchises with masks to use while they remain open.

Do we all need to wear masks? The CDC is considering it. Click here to read the story.

11 a.m.

Universal Orlando says it will remain closed through April 19, 2020.

In an email to annual pass holders, the company said it will extend the passes by the number of days it remains closed.

FlexPay payments were postponed as of March 25, 2020.

10:55 a.m. update

Florida officials will meet today to discuss allowing two cruise ships to dock at the Port Everglades cruise ship terminal in Broward County. Holland America says 450 guests and 602 crew members are on the Zaandam. 190 people are said to be sick. The number of infected appears to have increased since a report last week. The company says the Rotterdam took on nearly 1,400 people who appear to be healthy.

Gov. Ron DeSantis sats Florida’s health care resources are stretched too thin, telling Fox News, “We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridans dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources.”

10:35 a.m. update

TSA says screening numbers continue to fall as people reduce or cancel travel plans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This morning TSA reported 154,080 people were screened yesterday, compared to 2,360,053 screened on the same day in 2019.

This is considered the “lowest number screened by TSA in over a decade.”

10:17 a.m. update

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average up 39.3 points
  • S&P 500 up 0.54 points
  • Nasdaq Composite up 51.6 points

9:32 a.m. update:

The Brevard County Commission will meet at 12 p.m. today to discuss their response to the pandemic.

Follow WFTV reporter Melonie Holt on Twitter for updates on what is happening in Brevard Co.

9:04 a.m. update:

Officials in Kissimmee announced they would provide rental assistance and prevent eviction to certain low-income residents affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The modified program offers a maximum of $1,200 in assistance to those who qualify.

Kissimmee residents seeking assistance can click here to apply.

Read: Coronavirus: University of Washington, NYU researchers testing malaria drug for use against COVID-19

7:49 a.m. update:

Health officials in Seminole County have pushed back their weekly online sessions where they keep the community informed on COVID-19.

The sessions, which normally begin at 10:30 a.m., will now begin at noon.

Read: Coronavirus: Dolly Parton to read bedtime stories to kids in new weekly video series

6 a.m. update:

Officers with the Orlando Police Department will soon be equipped with handouts to share with the public who may not be adhering to proper CDC guidelines of social distancing.

Officials will provide more information on how they plan to stop the spread of coronavirus with handouts at 9:10 a.m.

Read: Recently retired law enforcement, health professionals allowed to work during pandemic

4:35 a.m. update:

The Florida Department of Health has reported 231 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state and eight new deaths.

There are now 5,704 total COVID-19 cases in Florida, with 5,489 of them being Florida residents and 215 nonresidents, according to health officials.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Coronavirus cases in Florida

A total of 71 people have died from the coronavirus in Florida.

Click here for a recap of Monday’s coverage.

The Associated Press contributed to parts of this report.


Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV in 2014.

Christopher Boyce, WFTV.com

Christopher Boyce joined WFTV in January of 2019.