The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties continues to rise as the state expands its testing capabilities in response to the pandemic.
South Florida has served as the epicenter of the outbreak in the state. Miami-Dade County is responsible for more than a quarter of the 2,355 positive tests in the state so far. The county has seen 616 confirmed cases, according to a Thursday morning update.
That update also saw Broward County eclipsing 500 cases for the first time, with 504 positive tests recorded. Among those positives are a two-year-old girl and an infant boy, who is less than one year old according to state data.
The state has seen a surge in confirmed cases in recent days. But that’s driven in large part from the simple fact the state is testing more, thus allowing officials to more accurately record the number of people who have contracted the virus.
Broward and Miami-Dade counties are well ahead of the state in terms of positive tests. Those two counties account for nearly 48% of all confirmed cases in the state alone. And Broward’s mark of 504 cases is nearly triple the next-highest number in the state.
The third place total of 169 cases belongs to Palm Beach County, just one county to the north of Broward.
Add Palm Beach’s total to Broward and Miami-Dade, and you have 55% of Florida’s confirmed cases confined to three of its 67 counties.
It’s worth noting that number is also skewed by the expedited roll out of tests in the area.
South Florida is almost surely leading the state in number of actual cases (confirmed and unconfirmed). But its ratio of cases is likely skewed by the confirmed numbers, as more people are being tested there relative to other parts of the state.
Monroe County, which encompasses the Florida Keys, has seen an additional 12 positive tests.
While Miami-Dade has recorded the highest number of positive tests — a group including U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez — the county has recorded no deaths from the virus so far.
Both Broward and Palm Beach counties, conversely, have had three people each succumb to the virus.
All three major counties have seen varying levels of restrictions put in place, at both the county and city level. Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie has also said he expects K-12 schools to operate remotely for the remainder of the school year, though no final decision has yet been made.