By John Denton
April 10, 2020
ORLANDO - Amway Center, home to the Orlando Magic for the past 10 years, is about to become home to medical equipment and supplies that AdventHealth will use in treating those who have contracted the coronavirus.
According to Florida Health, there were 17,058 confirmed cases among Florida residents of COVID-19 and another 513 non-Florida resident cases as of Friday morning. Of those, there have been 895 confirmed cases and 13 deaths in Orange County, 232 cases and two deaths in Seminole County, 300 cases and five deaths in Osceola County, 115 cases and two deaths in Brevard County, 187 cases and five deaths in Volusia County, 147 cases and two deaths in Lake County and 237 cases and eight deaths in Polk County.
Some experts fear that the COVID-19 cases and deaths will continue to rise and the peak for both won’t hit until some point during the first two weeks of May. AdventHealth is preparing for a potential spike in COVID-19 cases and is using the Amway Center as a staging area for its supplies and equipment.
``We’ve partnered with AdventHealth and the Orlando Magic to transform the Amway Center into a hub for healthcare equipment and supplies that the hospital system will use to distribute needed supplies to its 50 hospitals across our region and in seven others states across the country,’’ Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. ``We are proud to have partners, like Advent Health and the Orlando Magic, who are helping now and preparing for future needs as we continue to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. As a city, we are happy to help in this effort.’’
The Magic (30-35) saw the NBA indefinitely suspend its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert first tested positive for the coronavirus. At the time of the season suspension, the Magic had won three games in a row and six of nine.
Magic CEO Alex Martins said his organization is more than happy to help assist AdventHealth in its battle of treating and curbing the spread of the worldwide pandemic.
``In on-going communication with AdventHealth and the City of Orlando it came to our attention the need for staging space for medical equipment and supplies,’’ Martins said. ``It is our honor to partner with the City of Orlando to provide assistance in the use of the Amway Center to meet AdventHealth’s and our community’s needs.’’
In the absence of basketball, the Magic have been extremely active in the Central Florida community in an attempt to lessen the burden created by the adverse effects of the deadly virus and the state’s stay-at-home orders that have followed. The DeVos family, owners of the Magic for nearly 29 years, pledged a $2 million fund to pay hourly employees of the Magic, Lakeland Magic, Orlando Solar Bears and Amway Center during the suspension of the season. Approximately 1,800 part-time employees will be assisted and receive paychecks for missed games through what would have been the end of the regular season based on data related to previous individual games worked.
Center Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba were among the first Magic players to commit to assisting with those payments.
Magic forward Jonathan Isaac invested and assisted a program started by Project Life, Inc. and J.U.M.P. Ministries to feed those in need. According to Isaac, the group – which is serving hot meals five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the group has fed thousands of Central Floridians in need. Fellow third-year forward Wes Iwundu has assisted Isaac and others with the purchase of supplies and serving those in need. Others in the community wanting to donate can do so by logging onto ProjectLifeNow.org.
Magic forward Aaron Gordon made financial contributions to the homeless children’s fund of Orange County Public Schools and My New Red Shoes to help out those in need. Similarly, point guard D.J. Augustin made a charitable donation to Krewe of Red Beans, a nonprofit organization that serves food to front-line medical workers in his boyhood home of New Orleans, which has been one of the nation’s hardest-hit cities by the coronavirus.
Also, Magic Gaming and a group of Magic television and radio broadcasters have launched donation drives to raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank. Fans can donate by visiting https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/omyf and designating ``Christian Service Center’’ or ``Second Harvest Food Bank’’ for their donation.
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.