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COVID-19 Morning Report

Florida Department of Health

State health officials reported 1,415 new cases of COVID-19, Monday, bringing Florida's total to 717,874 cases. Monday marked the lowest single-day increase in cases since Sept. 28 when 738 new infections were reported.

The Florida Department of Health also reported 41 new coronavirus-related deaths, Oct. 5, increasing the statewide total to 14,886 fatalities.

Of the 5,419,897 COVID-19 tests that have been reported in Florida so far, the overall positivity rate stands at 13.25% and the latest single day positivity rate increased slightly to 3.89%.

Here in the Southwest Florida region including Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, health officials reported 311 new cases of the virus, Monday, for a total of 59,895 cases.

There was also one new death each reported Oct. 5 in Glades, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, increasing the Southwest Florida region's death toll to 1,448 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

More Florida voters support Gov. Ron DeSantis' move to enter phase three of the state's reopening plan than oppose it; that's according to a new poll from Suffolk University and the USA TODAY network.

Late last month, DeSantis moved Florida into phase three, which lifted remaining capacity restrictions on bars, restaurants, salons and other businesses. The Herald Tribune reports the poll of 500 likely voters in the state found that 50% of respondents back the Governor's reopening plan and 43% opposed it. Another 7% were undecided.

The survey finds opinions fell mostly along party lines with a majority of Republicans supporting the plan and a majority of Democrats in opposition.

The survey also finds that 47% of Florida voters have a favorable view of the governor, while 40% say they have a negative view of DeSantis.

Just 12% of Democrats said they have a favorable view of DeSantis compared to 83% of Republicans and 49% of independents.

The Sesame Street in Communities project is releasing a video Oct. 6, on its Facebook page to help children cope with tough challenges that have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. The video features a staff member of a Miami-Dade County-based nonprofit. Sesame Street Muppets will be answering questions from children to help them deal with topics like homelessness or parental addiction.

“There's so much fewer resources, particularly in Spanish as well, that help look at parental addiction from a point of view that it's not a consequence and reduces the stigma,” said Jeanette Betancourt. She’s the Senior Vice President for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind the TV show.

Betancourt said they explain that addiction is a disease that needs treatment. The video includes an expert from Thriving Mind South Florida, which is a network of providers in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties that focus on mental health and substance abuse.

“There’s a lot of stigma associated with behavioral health issues, especially addiction,” said Thriving Mind South Florida’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Laura Naredo.

“So I think the goal of Sesame Street in Communities and the mission of South Florida, which blends very nicely, is to bring awareness to these issues and to destigmatize these topics,”The video premieres at 2:00 p.m. on the Facebook page of Sesame Street in Communities. A Spanish language version will follow later this month.Later this month they’ll post a version in Spanish.

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Verónica Zaragovia