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The count of new COVID-19 cases in Florida has continued trending upward, shooting the state past 70,000 diagnoses Friday.
As of 10 a.m. Friday, 70,971 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a record 1,902-person jump between reports. Another 29 people died, raising the death toll to 2,967, and 136 people were hospitalized, lifting the number of hospitalizations to 11,986.
For a tenth straight day, more than 1,000 people tested positive per calendar day, a streak that has gone on longer than it did during the virus’ initial peak in early April. The current streak is also steeper, with upwards of 1,600 testing positive in recent days while that count only topped 1,300 once in early April.
This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis defended the rising number of new cases, arguing the state is now testing three times as many people as it was in early April, the last time the Department of Health (DOH) was consistently reporting 1,000 new cases per day. But in recent weeks, the Governor and Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz have said the demand for tests falls short of the state’s expanded testing apparatus, suggesting the recent growth isn’t attributed to greater access to testing.
The five-day average of people testing positive, has gone steadily upward in the past two weeks. On May 29, the five-day average was 716, and it topped 1,000 on June 5. As of Friday, the five-day average is 1,349.
Epidemiologists use five-day averages to eliminate spikes caused by a batch of reports.
Phase Two of three of the state’s reopening process began a week ago.
South Florida’s Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties still remain the state’s largest hot spots of the virus since DOH officials confirmed the first two Florida cases three months ago and did not enter Phase Two together with the state’s 64 other counties.
Since Thursday’s report, 324 people in Miami-Dade County have tested positive, raising the overall COVID-19 caseload there to 20,872 people. Eleven of the 29 people who died statewide were tied to Miami-Dade, raising the death toll there to 824 total.
Broward County registered 252 new cases, raising its total to 8,589, and officials removed one person from the death toll, which now sits at 371. Palm Beach County is approaching Broward’s count with 8,209 cases after DOH showed 322 new reports and nine fatalities, now 429 total.
Hillsborough County on Wednesday became the fourth county with 3,000 cases, now with 3,295 total. Three others have more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases: Orange with 2,773, Lee with 2,563 and Collier with 2,364. Five more have upward of 1,000 cases: Pinellas with 1,941, Duval — surpassed by Pinellas Friday— with 1,923, Polk with 1,373, Manatee with 1,309 and Martin with 1,056 after crossing that threshold Thursday.
Escambia County is the next closest to crossing 1,000 cases, now with 956.
State health officials received test results from 34,567 people Thursday, adding to the 1.3 million people that have been tested.