The state has 129 new coronavirus cases and an additional death reported Thursday evening, putting the state’s tally of coronavirus cases at 2,484 and the death toll at 29.
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 reports 654 confirmed cases while Broward County had 505. That marked a 125-count increase in Miami-Dade, 93-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 had 174 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Hillsborough County had 151 and Orange County had 110 as of the evening.
Of the reported cases, 368 traveled, 468 had contact with a confirmed case and 239 traveled and had contact with a confirmed case. Officials are still attempting to source 1,309 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.