While the number of new novel coronavirus cases in the state appears to have leveled off in recent weeks, more than 600 Floridians have died during the global pandemic.
The Department of Health reported 43 fatalities Wednesday, raising the state’s death toll to 614. And 22,519 people, including 654 non-Floridians in the state, have now tested positive for COVID-19, up 891 from Tuesday.
Nearly 200 more Floridians were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Wednesday’s report, raising the state’s total number of hospitalizations to 3,249.
While the 891 new coronavirus cases include some from Tuesday evening and some confirmed later Wednesday will be included in Thursday’s report, it appears Wednesday may be another day of fewer than 1,200 coronavirus cases, continuing a trend since April 4 that Surgeon General Scott Rivkees has said shows the state “essentially at a plateau.”
And Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared to claim victory Wednesday over the mitigation efforts to reduce the stress on hospitals and ICU wards. Health officials seem more confident about the state’s ability to fight COVID-19, he said.
“If you go back a month ago, most of them understood we had a mission and they were good, but there were some whose hair were on fire, the world was — they were really worried about what was going to happen,” he said. “I think now people feel like the trend has been good and I think, really across the state, they’re confident that they’re going to be able to handle the COVID patients.”
With the initial brunt of the coronavirus outbreak seemingly under control, the Governor is ready to announce a task force on phase two of the state’s coronavirus response.
“Now that we are seeing these trends, we obviously have got to be thinking about what the next steps are for the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
But the department continues reporting new cases, particularly in South Florida, which has seen a vast and growing majority of the state’s coronavirus cases. Nearly three in five of the state’s COVID-19 cases are in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Miami-Dade County has more than 8,000 cases, now 8,063, after officials confirmed 351 cases there Wednesday. It also leads the state in deaths, now with 155 fatalities.
Palm Beach County, with 1,816 cases, up 76, is the only other county with 100 or more deaths — 107. Broward County has had 94 fatal cases but 3,363 cases total, up 102.
Orange County is the only other county with more than 1,000 cases, now 1,072.
While the state’s report only lists 42 fatalities statewide as new, the state’s death toll increased 43 since Tuesday’s reports.