State health officials reported 3,822 new COVID-19 cases Friday, another day of growing cases as the pandemic has seen record growth over the past week.
The new cases put overall diagnoses at 89,748, and with at least 43 newly reported death, the state’s death toll is at least 3,197, including 3,104 dead Floridians. Another 197 Floridians were hospitalized, raising the hospitalization count to 12,774.
The last seven days alone have brought more than a fifth, or 18,777, of the state’s confirmed cases since the virus was first reported in the Sunshine State in March.
Friday’s report also showed 3,327 new cases throughout the day Thursday. That day’s daily report showed 3,207 new cases, but because the daily reports are 10 a.m. snapshots, many of those cases were confirmed Wednesday.
The percent positivity rate among people who were not previously known positives again topped 10%, levels not seen since the state first began reporting that number in late April. Two weeks ago, that rate was 3.2% despite the state receiving 6,000 more tests that day.
Gov. Ron DeSantis used to highlight that metric to show the state’s progress in containing the pandemic. But the growing number doesn’t match with his defense of the growing number of cases, that expanded testing is revealing contained pockets of the virus among migrant farmers and inmates.
More than 1.5 million people, including 34,834 Thursday, have been tested for the novel coronavirus in Florida. The state and public and private partners have opened testing facilities across the hardest-hit parts of the state that are available to anyone, regardless of age or symptoms, a stark change from the early days of the pandemic.
And the state’s most populous counties have seen a growing number of weekly hospital visits for flu-like and COVID-like illnesses, another metric used to determine the state’s reopening progress.
During a Tuesday press conference, DeSantis told reporters that “we’re not rolling back” reopening progress. Since June 5, Florida has been in Phase Two of three, which includes allowing 100% capacity at retailers and mass gatherings of 50 or less. It also allows bars and movie theaters to reopen, but some chains like AMC are still not opening locations.
“We’re not shutting down. We’re going to go forward,” he said. “We’re going to continue to protect the most vulnerable. We’re going to urge, continue to advise particularly our elderly population, to maintain social distancing, avoid crowds.”
In a Friday tweet, Helen Aguirre Ferré, the Governor’s spokesperson, highlighted that those testing positive for the virus aren’t in the at-risk demographic for severe cases.
“In Florida, those testing positive for COVID are younger and affected less severely which is why ICU bed availability is good and deaths remain low,” she said.
Statewide, 23% of adult ICU beds are available.
The Governor will hold a press conference at Florida International University Friday afternoon.
The Department of Health shows 24,376 cases for Miami-Dade County, 522 more than on Thursday, and Broward County added 337 cases to reach 10,448. Palm Beach County passed 10,000 cases, now with 10,116 after counting 262 more, the day after Broward crossed that threshold.
Cases in Hillsborough County, which saw a 14% positivity rate among all people tested, are also on the rise. The Orlando area, too, has seen an uptick. Hillsborough County has 4,982 cases, an increase of 372, and Orange County has 4,274 total cases, with 374 new reports.