State health officials reported 2,795 COVID-19 diagnoses and 109 deaths in Florida Saturday as the state kicks off its first weekend in Phase Three.
Overall, 698,682 people, including 690,387 Floridians, have tested positive. The 209 resident deaths push the state’s toll to 14,022 confirmed fatalities among residents and an additional 168 among non-residents.
The new cases cover results returned between Friday morning and Saturday morning. For all-day Friday, the Department of Health reported 2,791 positive cases with a median age of 38.
On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the Sunshine State would enter Phase Three effective immediately, removing all state-level restrictions on businesses. The order does not preempt local mask mandates, but prevents local governments from assessing fines and penalties on COVID-19 rules.
DeSantis began underscoring emergency department visits over testing positivity rates in early August after raising questions about the reliability of complete and timely reporting from private laboratories.
Hospital visits for illnesses related to influenza and COVID-19 have generally declined each week since July 5. Apart from an increase in influenza-like illnesses the week of Sept. 6, both metrics have declined for ten consecutive weeks.
Instances of illnesses like COVID-19 dropped to a new recent weekly low of 3,835 last week. DOH reported 2,126 fewer flu-like illnesses, slightly lower than the prior week but still more instances the department has seen since the week of Aug. 9.
Overall, 43,469 Floridians have been hospitalized, an increase of 170 since Friday’s report. But the Agency for Health Care Administration reports that only 2,100 people are currently hospitalized.
Florida has recorded a positivity rate below 5% in 13 of the last 15 days, coming in at 4.2% Friday. Some experts say the positivity rate should be below 5% for two weeks before reopening services like schools.
In total, 5.2 million Floridians have been tested for COVID-19, as have 20,946 non-residents in the state. DOH received results for 72,903 individuals Friday, the most this week.
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, consider 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 nonresidents 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.