State health officials reported a back-to-back day of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases as well as 16 more fatalities, putting the total case count at 7,773 and the death toll at 101 Wednesday.
After jumping 1,037 cases Tuesday to 6,741, with 14 new deaths, officials counted more than 200 new cases and two deaths overnight. With an evening update, the new total includes 990 hospitalizations and cases among 278 non-Floridians tested and isolated in the state.
Most of the state’s positive novel coronavirus cases are in South Florida, but the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas have become growing hot spots 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 last month and acknowledges community spread is underway in parts of the state.
Palm Beach County, with 22 dead, has the most fatalities in the state despite only having 8% of the cases. However, the county’s positive cases skew disproportionate toward seniors, with 268 of the county’s total 616 cases coming from those 65 and older.
DOH reported eight of the county’s fatalities Wednesday, including two in its morning report. Their ages ranged from 64 to 88.
Miami-Dade County, which has the most cases in the state with 2,416, had four additional residents die. Now 11 of the county’s cases have been fatal. The deaths include a 68-year-old woman who had contact with a known case, a 74-year old woman and an 89-year-old man who neither had traveled nor had contact with a known case, and a 93-year-old of unknown gender who did not travel.
In Broward County, now with 1,348 confirmed cases, officials confirmed a 13th person died after contracting COVID-19 — a 39-year-old man who had traveled to the Bahamas and had contact with a known case.
Two men died in Lee County — an 88-year-old who had contact with a known case and a 67-year-old who neither had contact with a known case nor had traveled. And a man in Manatee County age 77 had no contact with a known case and had not traveled.
Orange County now has 458 cases after confirming 85 new cases Wednesday. Hillsborough County has now confirmed 362 cases after adding 57.
Only seven counties, all in North Florida, have no reported cases now — Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty and Taylor.
Of the confirmed cases, 774 had traveled, 1,033 had contact with a confirm case and 473 did both. The sources of the remaining 4,443 cases are still under investigation.
Earlier, DeSantis announced a stay-at-home order statewide beginning Friday morning, reversing course on a move he had previous called unnecessary.
Public and private labs have now tested nearly 70,000 individuals, including at least 1,343 who still await their results.
DeSantis said he hoped the state could soon reach 105,000 tests if it maintains an expedited testing clip. That would equal the per-capita level of testing completed by South Korea, often pointed to as a model for governments’ coronavirus responses.
“Once you get that or better, you have a really good sense of how this virus is moving in all the different communities,” he said.