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Florida’s COVID-19 death toll tops 15,000

October 7, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2020, file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces the state's phase three openings at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. As the summer coronavirus spike in Sunbelt states subsides, Florida has gone the furthest in lifting restrictions, especially on restaurants where the burden of ensuring safety has shifted to business owners and residents _ raising concerns of a resurgence. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2020, file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces the state's phase three openings at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. As the summer coronavirus spike in Sunbelt states subsides, Florida has gone the furthest in lifting restrictions, especially on restaurants where the burden of ensuring safety has shifted to business owners and residents _ raising concerns of a resurgence. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2020, file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces the state's phase three openings at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. As the summer coronavirus spike in Sunbelt states subsides, Florida has gone the furthest in lifting restrictions, especially on restaurants where the burden of ensuring safety has shifted to business owners and residents _ raising concerns of a resurgence. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)
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FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2020, file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces the state's phase three openings at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. As the summer coronavirus spike in Sunbelt states subsides, Florida has gone the furthest in lifting restrictions, especially on restaurants where the burden of ensuring safety has shifted to business owners and residents _ raising concerns of a resurgence. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)
1 of 2
FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2020, file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces the state's phase three openings at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. As the summer coronavirus spike in Sunbelt states subsides, Florida has gone the furthest in lifting restrictions, especially on restaurants where the burden of ensuring safety has shifted to business owners and residents _ raising concerns of a resurgence. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

MIAMI (AP) — Florida’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed more than 15,000 people as the state detected more than 2,500 new virus cases and local governments and school districts carried on with reopening plans.

Health officials tallied 139 new deaths, while 2,128 patients are being treated in Florida hospitals for COVID-19, a slight decrease from Tuesday’s figures. The health department figures do not represent casualties in a 24-hour period, and include deaths from several previous days.

Miami public schools continued to welcome children for physical instruction on Wednesday after more than a month of virtual learning.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said shipments with hundreds of thousands of rapid test kits will help better detect the virus and protect those with underlying conditions.

According to data kept by the Associated Press, Florida’s death toll from the virus is the fifth highest in the country overall and the 12th highest per capita at more than 69 deaths per 100,000 people.