The state has 378 new coronavirus cases and five new reported deaths Thursday, putting the state’s tally of coronavirus cases over 2,000 for the first time.
Department of Health officials now report 2,355 COVID-19 cases, including 2,235 Florida residents, and 28 deaths. The release was largest single-report jump the state has experienced and a 35% increase from the totals released Wednesday morning.
The new deaths come from Clay, Hillsborough and Orange counties.
A 65-year-old man with known contact with another case and a 77-year-old woman with no known contact, both in Clay County, passed away. Two Orange County men, aged 73 and 90, had no known travel and no yet-known contact. The fifth death was a Hillsborough County 69-year-old man with no known travel or contact with a known case.
With expanding testing capabilities, reported numbers are expected to continue to rise. Local governments and the state have opened several drive-thru testing sites throughout the state.
South Florida remains the biggest hotspot of COVID-19 cases in the state.
Miami-Dade County now has 616 confirmed cases while Broward County has 504. That marks a 125-count increase in Miami-Dade, 92-count increase in Broward County since Wednesday evening.
Miami-area hospitals received crew members Thursday from two Costa Cruise ships, the Magica and Favolosa. Carnival Corp., which owns the cruise line, said the ships are empty except for crew members. They remain offshore.
Lifeboats brought the ill crew members into the Port of Miami, where they were greeted by doctors and nurses wearing protective masks and overalls. They were walked to a screening area and then taken to an ambulance.
Both vessels were both last in port at the Caribbean island of St. Maarten: the Magica on March 17 and the Favolosa on Saturday, according to vesselfinder.com. About 30 crew members had shown flu-like symptoms, but only about a dozen required hospitalization, Carnival said in a statement.
Carnival said that the ships had tried to dock in several Caribbean ports to get treatment for the crew members, but had been turned away. The Miami hospital officials said they felt it was important that the crew receive treatment immediately.
“While we are all committed to preserving resources for our own residents, an international community like Miami would never turn our backs on people aboard ships at our shores,” Jackson Health, the University of Miami and Baptist Health said in a joint statement.
Palm Beach County now has 169 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Hillsborough County has 142 and Orange County has 110.
Of the reported cases, 390 traveled, 405 had contact with a confirmed case and 243 traveled and had contact with a confirmed case. Officials are still attempting to source 1,317 cases.
On Wednesday, health officials reported 510 new cases to bump the state’s count to 1,977 and 23 deaths.
Earlier that day, President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Florida, allowing the state to more efficiently draw down federal resources to help combat the virus.
And Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to defend his decision to not order people shelter in place statewide. Instead, several local jurisdictions have enforced their own closures and sheltering orders.
The Governor is asking senior citizens and anyone with underlying medical issues to stay at home to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus.
And during a streamed television press conference Wednesday, he addressed hospital capacity, noting there are still 35% of hospital beds available and 33% of intensive care beds open. The current hospitalization rate of coronavirus patients is between 18% and 20%.
U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel pushed the federal government for additional supplies to help test Floridians in a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar Thursday, noting the nearly 2,000 confirmed cases in the state as of Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Republished with permission.