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Phase Two in sight as more businesses reopen, but experts say we haven't flattened the curve just yet

All Florida counties will be reopened by Monday, but as epidemiologists follow the data, they say a surge in cases could mean we need tighter restrictions.
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Corona virus prevention face mask protection N95 masks and medical surgical masks at home .

TAMPA, Fla. — Almost two weeks into Phase One of reopening the state and Florida's 67 counties will be included come Monday. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Broward and Miami-Dade counties will finally take the step to reopen on May 18 after originally being held back due to large outbreaks.

"We did this because we understood that these mitigation efforts were done to flatten the curve to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed," DeSantis said. 

While the state skipped President Donald Trump's recommended 14 day period to see a decline in cases, the governor says new data shows he made the right move. 

It's been over two months since the COVID-19 outbreak started and the percentage of people testing positive has dropped.

"Since we went to Phase One of the reopening the percentage of positive tests throughout the state has ranged between 1.84 percent and 5.27 percent for new cases," DeSantis said.

Infectious disease experts agree with the new results saying things are slowly on the decline.

"Those data are correct. The need for acute care hospital beds has diminished. The number of ventilators has declined," Dr. Jay Wolfson with USF Public Health said.

The doctor says a decrease is expected as we continue to follow social distancing.

"It's very important for people to realize that there's a difference between a peak and a plateau. Things don't just stop. So people are still getting sick at an important rate and people are still dying, but that trajectory is flattening," Dr. Wolfson said.

That's why he says the state hasn't flattened the curve yet. Just today 4.3 percent of coronavirus test results came back positive.

"Things are improving, but because we're at a plateau level they could go up or down for a while. That's why the monitoring surveillance and testing is so very important," Dr. Wolfson said.

While the governor plans to let more businesses reopen, Wolfson says Florida could move into Phase Two very soon. However, a surge in cases will show a need to make restrictions tighter.

"All it takes is one positive case. It doesn't have to be someone who has symptoms to come into a room of people who are virgins, because they don't have immunity, and it spreads like wildfire," Dr. Wolfson said.

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