South Florida — and the rest of the state — received positive news Thursday as numbers partially dipped day-to-day after weeks of troubling trends.
But that bright spot appears to be an anomaly, as Florida once again smashed its record high with nearly 9,000 new cases in Friday’s report.
The numbers shot back up in South Florida as well.
Palm Beach County added another 654 cases in Friday’s report, which covers data through Thursday. Broward saw an increase of 750 cases.
Miami-Dade added more cases than those two counties combined, with more than 1,500 new cases listed in Friday’s report.
One positive data point: the region’s median age for new cases remains in the mid-30s to low-40s. Younger patients are not as susceptible to longer-term damage or death. However, health officials worry that if the virus continues spreading among the younger cohort, it makes it easier for those individuals to pass it to older or immunocompromised Floridians.
The rise in positive cases also appears, in part, to be driven by a sizable uptick in testing in those three counties.
An increase in testing does not tell the whole story, though, as the share of positive tests went up day-to-day across the region as well.
Broward saw its highest daily positivity rate in at least the previous two weeks, as 11.7% of tests came back positive.
Miami-Dade hit its third-highest daily positivity rate in the last two weeks, with a 14.3% rate. The county’s two highest positivity rates came in Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s reports. Add Friday’s numbers, and this week serves as a scary trend in the region.
Palm Beach’s daily positivity rate of 10.8% in Friday’s report is slightly below average for the previous two weeks. That the county avoided a surge seen in Broward and Miami-Dade is not necessarily an encouraging sign, however, as Palm Beach began routinely eclipsing a 10% positivity rate before either Broward or Miami-Dade.
That 10%-and-above benchmark is quickly becoming the norm throughout all three counties as well as the state.
Friday’s report shows a turnaround in the day-to-day trend. While the raw case totals in Thursday’s report remained high, the regional positivity rate did drop.
That ping-ponging back and forth is why health experts advise against honing in on day-to-day changes — including Friday’s record-smashing numbers. For all those hoping the drop in Thursday’s report was a sign of bigger dips to come, Friday’s numbers put a dent in that theory.
Overall, the week-to-week trend is clear: both raw cases and the share of South Floridians testing positive for the virus are on the uptick.
Officials in the region have begun responding to the uptick in recent weeks. Palm Beach County is now mandating masks in public. Broward County officials also promised to shut down businesses failing to comply with social distancing rules.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez did, however say one week ago that the rise numbers at the time were not “concerning.” He also noted the county did not yet have a hospital shortage.
The state does not release detailed hospitalization data. Independent trackers, however, have shown an increase in hospitalizations in recent weeks.