Florida has again shattered the daily record of newly reported COVID-19 cases with 8,942 new diagnoses Friday.
In total, 122,960 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the Sunshine State, including 2,386 non-residents. The prior daily record was 5,511, set Wednesday.
Before the latest spike, the state’s one-day record for confirmed coronavirus cases was 1,601, set in mid-May. Since Monday, when the case total crossed 100,000, confirmed cases have grown by more than 20%.
Another 39 Florida residents died since Thursday’s report, raising the death toll to 3,366. And two non-Floridians died, lifting the count of dead visitors to 98.
For the first time Friday, health officials included the count of non-resident deaths on its public-facing report. Previously, that data was available through the Department of Health (DOH)’s data portal, also free to the public.
Officials counted 212 new hospitalizations with the virus, lifting the total count of resident hospitalizations to 13,987. DOH had not updated its data portal at the time of publication.
At the start of the month, the state made headlines for hitting 1,000 new cases over consecutive days. But as new cases have quadrupled in the past two weeks and Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ rhetoric has shifted, the May lull in COVID-19 is well in the past.
The latest bout has mostly affected young Floridians, the Governor says, partially why the state hasn’t seen a similar influx in hospitalizations. The median age of new cases has hovered in the low 30’s in the past week, 34 on Thursday.
“Not huge clinical consequences, but in terms of spread and in terms of some of the vulnerable populations eventually seeping in there, certainly a cause for concern,” he told reporters in Tallahassee Saturday.
And he says young people alone have driven up the positivity rate of new cases, which was 13.1% Thursday — about 10 percentage points higher than what the state saw when the pandemic. The high positivity rate also coincided with a near-record 71,433 new test results Thursday, leading to Friday’s spike in cases.
Even as cases continued to rise, DeSantis has spent the last couple weeks saying Florida won’t be rolling back any of its reopening plans. And on Thursday, he suggested Florida would take a slower path toward reopening.
But Friday morning, Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears announced his department suspended the consumption of alcohol at bars statewide, a reversal of the state’s reopening plan. Patrons could still take their drinks to go, and Beshears’ announcement didn’t touch on restaurants.
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. Bars opened under Phase Two, as did movie theaters, but some chains like AMC are still not opening locations.
New cases never fully subsided in the South Florida hot spots, but have also increased there in recent weeks. DOH reported 1,532 new cases in Miami-Dade County, where now 30,196 have tested positive.
Broward County added 736 cases to reach 13,320 and Palm Beach County has 12,498 overall, including 658 on Friday.
Hillsborough County crossed 8,000 cases Friday after crossing 7,000 Thursday, now at 8,018 with 689 new positives. Cases in Pinellas County are also on the rise with 5,099 total, an increase of 430.
Orange County, another resurgent county, added 1,062 new cases to push its total to 7,848.