ORLANDO, Fla. — As Walt Disney World and Universal Studios announced they’re closing amid coronavirus concerns, 15 new cases were reported in the state by the Florida Department of Health.
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11 p.m. update
The Florida Department of Health has announced 15 new positive cases of coronavirus in the state.
All of them are being isolated and cared for, the department said.
8:50 p.m. update
Universal Orlando Resort announced it will be closing Sunday through the end of the month amid coronavirus concerns, a spokesperson said.
Universal Orlando Resort released the following statement:
"Out of an abundance of caution and to assist with our nation’s preventive efforts, Universal Orlando Resort will temporarily close its theme parks. The closure is effective at the close of business on Sunday, March 15. We anticipate remaining closed through the end of March – but will continue to evaluate the situation.
"Universal Orlando’s hotels and Universal CityWalk will remain open.
“We have created flexible programs for those guests who have booked travel packages or tickets with us. Guests can call this number for more information: 877-801-9720. A core group of team members will continue to work on site. Hourly team members will be paid for any work scheduled through the end of March."
8:20 p.m. update
Walt Disney World in Florida will be closing Sunday through the end of the month, a spokesperson said.
Disney released the following statement:
"In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort, beginning at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month.
"Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, through the end of the month.
"The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period.
"The hotels at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris, will remain open.
"Domestic Walt Disney Company employees who are able to work from home are being asked to do so, including those at The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Direct-to-Consumer, and Parks, Experiences and Products.
“We will continue to stay in close contact with appropriate officials and health experts.”
6:40 p.m. update
Orange County Public Schools put out a message clarifying that no decision has been made to cancel classes after spring break. Read the message in full below:
6:30 p.m. update
The city of Orlando announced it will cancel all senior activities at its facilities and temporarily close its Beardall and L. Claudia Allen Senior Centers.
5:15 p.m. update
Osceola County officials said they are not cancelling any events, or limiting large gatherings, yet.
As of now, no positive cases of the virus have been reported in the county.
Officials said they are encouraging residents to take precautions, like washing their hands, to stay healthy during the outbreak.
Channel 9 reporter Alexa Lorenzo reports below:
5 p.m. update
Organizers of Leesburg Bikefest said the event, which is scheduled to start April 24 and brings hundreds of thousands of people annually to Lake County, is still on as of now.
Channel 9 reporter Myrt Price reports below:
4:45 p.m. update
A Seminole County woman spoke with Channel 9 reporter Jeff Levkulich to describe her experience self-quarantining herself following a flight from China.
The flight attendant voiced frustration over the lack of direction by the Department of Health and others. Watch the video of their interview below:
4:35 p.m. update
Disneyland Resort in California has announced it will close its Disneyland Park and California Adventure amid concerns over the coronavirus.
The park will close Saturday and remain closed through the end of March. Officials said the resort hotels will remain open until March 16, and that Downtown Disney will remain open.
No announcements have been made regarding Disney World. Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for updates.
4:22 p.m. update
The NCAA has canceled the men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments amid coronavirus fears.
4:10 p.m. update
Stocks plummeted again as travel bans and virus-related shutdowns escalated across the U.S. The Dow lost more than 2,300 points, or 10% Thursday.
4 p.m. update
The Reedy Creek Firefighters Union officials said Thursday that they have seven firefighter-EMTs who work in Disney parks in quarantine.
Six of those firefighter-EMTs just returned from a conference in Tampa where someone tested positive for coronavirus and one just returned from Vietnam and South Korea.
3:30 p.m. update
Enhanced cleaning services are taking place at public spaces across Seminole County, including schools and government buildings, officials said.
3:20 p.m. update
Seminole County officials are giving an update on the first coronavirus case in the county.
2:42 p.m. update
Broadway theaters will suspend performances through April 12.
2 p.m. update
The Florida Department of Health has confirmed a case of COVID-19 in Seminole County.
The test was performed by AdventHealth Altamonte Springs. Health officials said a 68-year-old man tested positive for coronavirus and he is being appropriately care for and isolated.
Officials said the case is travel-related.
1:30 p.m. update
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott said Thursday that he is isolating himself after possibly coming into contact with a Brazilian delegation member who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Scott provided Channel 9 with the following statement:
"My office was alerted today by the Brazilian embassy that a member of President Bolsonaro's delegation tested positive for coronavirus. On Monday, I met with the president in Miami, and while I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me. The embassy said the person had no symptoms leading up to or the day of the conference. After consulting with the Senate's attending physician and my personal doctor, I have been told that my risk is low, and I don't need to take a test or quarantine. However, the health and safety of the American people is my focus, and I have made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution. I am feeling healthy and not experiencing any symptoms at this time. I will still be working on my plan to combat coronavirus and protect American families, and my offices in D.C. and throughout the state will still be fully operational to help Floridians."
Scott canceled a news conference scheduled for Thursday.
12:30 p.m. update
It was previously reported that a 63-year-old man from New York tested positive for COVID-19 while visiting Bike Week in Volusia County. On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County said that man never arrived in Daytona Beach or Volusia County and never participated in Bike Week activities.
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12:20 p.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis outlined a five step plan to deal with coronavirus in Florida:
1) Protect the vulnerable populations (the elderly and those with preexisting conditions)
2) Increase testing
3) Practice social distancing
4) Keep health workers safe
5) Monitor foreign travel
11:45 a.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis recommends that Florida cities and private entities limit or postpone mass gatherings in the state.
He said if those gatherings continue, organized screenings need to be in place.
11:35 a.m. update
UF Health Shands Hospital has its first confirmed case of a patient with COVID-19, the hospital announced Thursday. Officials said the patient was transferred from another hospital.
11:20 a.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis is scheduled to host a news conference discussing the spread of the coronavirus in Florida at 11:30 a.m..
10:50 a.m. update
A DeLand church said it is canceling all church activities for two weeks and doing a deep cleaning of its facilities after one of its parishioners tested positive for COVID-19.
Trinity United Methodist Church said the Volusia County Health Department contacted the church to let them know that the person who tested positive said they’d been on church property in the past two weeks.
Church officials said they are unsure if any of its staff had direct contact with the person.
10:12 a.m. update
Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins confirmed that the Magic were on the same plane that the infected player of the Utah Jazz had been on, but that the plane was sanitized by Delta before they boarded.
9:42 a.m. update
The Orlando Magic are speaking with the media at 10 a.m. after the NBA suspended game operations for the season.
9:20 a.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis will hold another press conference in Miami at 11:30 a.m. to provide information on how the coronavirus has affected Florida.
9:15 a.m. update
Princess Cruises announced they will halt operations amid the coronavirus outbreak, affecting cruises scheduled to leave between March 12 and May 10.
Hillsborough Schools has announced that Farnell Middle School in Tampa will be closed for two days after someone on campus made contact with a coronavirus patient.
8:03 a.m. update
Bethune-Cookman University officials are urging students to not return to campus from spring break for an additional two weeks amid concerns of potential spread of coronavirus.
“All of us are confronted with an unprecedented global health issue,” said B-CU President E. LaBrent Chrite. “We are taking our lead from the State University System of Florida (SUSF) in order to be proactive and help keep our students healthy.”
7:15 a.m. update
Florida health officials have announced another three other confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida in addition to the three announced Wednesday evening. The additional cases are:
- A 57-year-old man from Lee county. The patient will remain isolated until cleared by health officials.
- A 65-year-old man from Broward County. The patient will remain isolated until cleared by health officials.
- A 61-year-old man from Broward County. This is a travel related case associated with Port Everglades.
5:37 a.m. update
Florida Department of Health officials have announced three coronavirus cases in the state. They are:
- A 63-year-old man from New York tested positive in St. Johns County. The man traveled from New York to attend Daytona Bike Week, according to the Department of Health.
- A 56-year-old man in Miami-Dade County tested positive and is being isolated. The Department of Health said it is a travel-related case.
- A 70-year-old man in Broward County tested as positive. He attended an Emergency Medical Services in Tampa.
The active number of cases in Florida now sits at 26. Two others with ties to the state have died from the coronavirus.
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