Another 8,109 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, driven in part by a data dump dating back seven weeks.
Overall, 550,901 people, including 5,861 non-Floridians who were tested and isolated in the state, have tested positive for the virus.
State health officials also recorded a relatively high number of fatalities after confirming 213 deaths in the last 24 hours, including among one non-resident. In total, 8,765 Floridians and 133 non-residents have died in the state.
On Tuesday, officials tallied 277 deaths, including 276 dead residents, a record for a 24 hour period in Florida.
The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the 8,109 positive results among residents and non-residents between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning. Among residents on Tuesday, officials confirmed 8,183 cases.
But according to Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ spokesman, Fred Piccolo, the spike in confirmed cases came from a data dump covering Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The one lab released 46 days worth of results, he said, bringing more than 3,000 positive cases.
“Another reason to look at date of infection/fatality rather than date the data was submitted,” he tweeted.
Minutes later, DOH tweeted that Niznik Lab Corp reported over 4,000 cases dating back to June 23. However, individuals tested during that period continuously received results in that time, the department assured.
“Therefore, this backlog severely skews today’s daily report for Miami-Dade and is not reflective of current trends,” DOH tweeted.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio shared a slightly different story, noting that the dump included two and a half weeks of results, counting positives that were up to 18 days old.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the lone Democrat elected statewide, called Rubio’s update “incredibly concerning.”
“What are we doing to fix this?” she asked the Governor over Twitter. “No one should have to wait 18 days to get a test result back.”
The seven week period started just ahead of peak of outbreaks in Florida. On July 12, state health officials reported a record 15,300 new COVID-19 cases.
While the positivity rate was 11.9% Tuesday, the highest since July 29, the seven-day average for the daily positivity rate is 9.7%, below the state’s self-imposed 10% target threshold.
The daily rate has increased each day since Saturday, when it was 8.5%. But Tuesday was the first day since July 28 that the seven-day average, which helps eliminate one-day spikes in the data, has increased.
Tuesday also brought 81,197 total results, below the recent average. Nearly 4.1 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in Florida.
Emergency department visits, which DeSantis has highlighted as his preferred metric for tracking the virus’ spread, have been declining since early July. Tuesday’s report shows an upward jump of visits and Wednesday’s report remained level, but the trend remains downward.
While another 593 Floridians were confirmed in hospitals with COVID-19, the Agency for Health Care Administration shows people leaving hospitals faster than they are entering. According to AHCA, 6,548 people were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 Tuesday, down 206 from 24 hours earlier.
Floridians are also now watching cases among children as schools districts statewide prepare to head back into school this month — some to brick and mortar schools and others opting to continue e-learning.
To date, there have been 43,307 COVID-19 cases among kids under 18, an increase of more than 546 in the last 24 hours. Of those cases, 36% have been among high-school aged kids 14-17, 26% among elementary school-aged kids 5-10 years old and 17% in middle school ages 11-13. Kids in daycare and pre-k, those ages 1-4, represent 16% of all pediatric cases.
Editor’s note on methodology: The Florida Department of Health releases new data every morning around 10:45 a.m. The total number reported in those daily reports include the previous day’s totals as well as the most up to date data as of about 9:30 a.m.
Florida Politics uses the report-over-report increase to document the number of new cases each day because it represents the most up-to-date data available. Some of the more specific data, including positivity rates and demographics, considers a different data set that includes only cases reported the previous day.
This is important to note because the DOH report lists different daily totals than our methodology to show day-over-day trends. Their numbers do not include non-residents who tested positive in the state and they only include single-day data, therefore some data in the DOH report may appear lower than what we report.
Our methodology was established based on careful consideration among our editorial staff to capture both the most recent and accurate trends.