TIMELINE: How COVID-19 first impacted Central Florida, and the world

March 1, 2020

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The first Floridians test positive for COVID-19.

The next day was a very different sight than what we’re used to now.

Orange County leaders were without masks, and shoulder-to-shoulder in a small, crowded room with reporters and photographers.

It’s a telling image of how little we knew one year ago.

READ: Theme park employees find new career paths following pandemic shutdown

At first, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was focused on restricting travel and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces to keep the novel coronavirus at bay.

But when it came to masks, experts said those should be reserved for hospital workers and was not needed for the general public.

March 9

The CDC first recommends social distancing.

Stimulus update: How quickly will you get a $1,400 check?

March 17

The first drive-up coronavirus testing site is established.

March 31

Just over 6,700 people in Florida had tested positive for the coronavirus, and 85 had died.

April 1

The governor issues a statewide stay-at-home order

READ: Here’s how & where medically vulnerable people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida

April 3

The CDC reverses courses on masks, and says everyone should wear them in public spaces.

April 8

Orlando Health infused its first patient with a new experimental treatment for COVID-19 involving convalescent plasma, and it worked. It is still used to treat COVID-19 patients.

READ: Coronavirus: CDC head warns of ‘very concerning’ recent uptick in COVID-19 cases


Trials were underway were possible vaccines.

Ten months later, and three have been authorized in the U.S.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.