As people take to parks and beaches on Memorial Day, state health officials report 879 new cases of COVID-19 in Florida, with 15 more deaths tied to the disease.
Those cases, confirmed in the 24 hours since the last daily report, raised the total number of diagnoses in the state to 51,746. With the additional 15 deaths, 2,331 people have died in Florida, including 79 nonresidents.
The deadliest day for coronavirus-related fatalities was May 4, when 59 Floridians died.
Another 43 people, all Florida residents, were hospitalized with the disease, according to the Department of Health (DOH). In total, 9,424 residents and 257 nonresidents have been hospitalized during the pandemic.
Since Sunday’s report, 196 people in Miami-Dade County tested positive, raising the overall COVID-19 caseload there to 17,041 people. Two people were confirmed dead since that report, raising the county’s death toll to 641.
Broward County registered 63 new cases, raising its total to 6,760 and the death toll rose to 320 after six new people were confirmed dead. Palm Beach County now has 5,355 cases after DOH showed 154 new cases, still with 326 deaths.
Six other counties have more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases including Hillsborough with 1,939, Orange with 1,831, Lee with 1,736, Duval with 1,467, Collier with 1,282 and Pinellas with 1,187.
Last week, one of the people entering data on Florida’s coronavirus dashboard was fired in a dispute over what information should be made public. Rebekah Jones, who says she helped design the site, said she was fired because she would not manually change data to support the Governor’s decision to begin the reopening of the state.
Jones’ comments over the past week and a half in emails to researchers, interviews with a handful of media outlets and blog posts have sought to sow doubt about the credibility of the data now that she is no longer in that role. State health officials strenuously deny any issue with the information’s accuracy as Gov. Ron DeSantis seeks to make a data-driven case for a step-by-step reopening of the state’s battered economy following safer-at-home orders.
Alongside Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Friday, DeSantis announced a decision to lift restrictions on youth activities such as team sports and summer camps.
“We trust parents to be able to make decisions,” he said during a news conference Friday in Jacksonville.
While the statewide restriction is no longer in effect, DeSantis clarified that the ultimate decision will be left in the hands of local governments.
“I’m not preempting them from being able to do anything,” DeSantis said of local regulations.