State health officials confirmed the deaths of 68 Floridians who tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday.
At least 1,539 Florida residents have died during the pandemic, as have 66 non-residents who died in the state. Now 38,002 people have tested positive in the state, including 982 non-residents, after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 563 deaths Wednesday.
The virus has sent 6,557 Floridians to the hospital, including an additional 227 residents confirmed by the department Tuesday.
With the majority of the state partially reopened Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the DOH are eyeing a continued decline in either the total number of confirmed positive cases or the share of newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases. The state’s hot spots in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties did not reopen with the rest of the state.
Florida now has access to 200,000 antibody tests with more on the way that, within 10 to 15 minutes, can show whether someone has previously contracted the novel coronavirus. Some of the state’s drive-thru testing sites will be dedicating lanes to the serological tests.
In Miami-Dade, DOH reported 13,371 total diagnosed cases and 432 deaths, an increase from 13,224 and 407 Wednesday, respectively. In Broward, the state confirmed 5,553 cases, up from 5,492, and 219 deaths, an additional four over Tuesday’s count. In Palm Beach, 3,480 people have tested positive, an increase from 3,390, with 10 additional deaths, pushing the death toll there to 215.
Orange, Hillsborough, Lee and Duval counties have also long-since crossed 1,000 cases. Patients have been diagnosed in each of the state’s 67 counties.
DeSantis has highlighted Orange County, with 1,460 cases, Hillsborough County, with 1,331, and Duval County, with 1,077 — a decrease of seven over Tuesday — as the state’s examples of growing hot spots that were stamped out. However, Lee County has remained fairly consistent in its number of daily reported cases, surpassing Duval County with 1,176 cases total.
DOH has tested 480,654 people with 1,351 awaiting results from department-coordinated labs. However, thousands more likely await results from private labs.
On Monday, the state received a record-setting 23,884 test results. The test result ratio plummeted to a record-low 2.58%, down from around 10% when the state started tracking the metric two weeks prior. On Tuesday, that percentage was still a low 3.74%.
Now 577 residents and staff of longterm care facilities, which include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, have died due to complications from COVID-19. Across the state, 470 facilities have residents or staff currently battling a known infection.
The Division of Emergency Management and the Florida National Guard now jointly operate 12 drive-thru testing sites across the state.
DeSantis also unveiled the state’s mobile testing lab with rapid COVID-19 diagnostic testing. StatLab will operate the RV lab, targeting longterm care facilities.