Florida Department of Health officials confirmed an additional 275 cases of the coronavirus Saturday evening, putting the state’s total count at 4,038.
Those 275 came on top of the 565 cases reported in the morning, up more than 26% from 3,198 Friday evening. Novel coronavirus infections involving the state include 3,877 Florida residents and 161 non-residents, 567 hospitalizations and 54 death. Officials reported eight deaths from the virus overnight but reported no new deaths in the evening update.
Most of the state’s positive coronavirus cases are in South Florida, but the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas have become growing hotspots of the virus. Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the first COVID-19 cases could have been in Florida weeks before the first case was confirmed this month and acknowledges community spread is underway in parts of the state.
During a Saturday press conference, the Governor said Israeli-sourced hydroxychloroquine could play a role in combatting coronavirus. He noted it is being used in New York, and offered anecdotal evidence of a “Floridian in very bad shape” who “used it and it seemed to clear up the lungs and the virus.”
The Governor said the drug would be sent to hotspots for COVID-19, including Dade, Broward, Hillsborough and Orange counties.
A South Florida disaster recovery company called “Disaster Management Group” (DMG) says it’s developed a blood test for the COVID-19 virus that can provide patients with results in 15 minutes. The organization is touting a product called DMGtest, which the company asserts would drastically cut down on wait times associated with the current testing model used in the state.
DeSantis also continued to target New York City-area travelers who he says could be seeding Florida with COVID-19 as the state manages outbreaks already underway.
On Friday, the Governor ordered travelers from Louisiana self-isolate as well as those from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. By Saturday, the Florida Highway Patrol had established a checkpoint at the Alabama border on Interstate 10 with plans to erect a stop on the Georgia border at Interstate 95.