More than 700,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Florida after state health officials reported 1,882 new cases Sunday.
Throughout the pandemic, the Department of Health has diagnosed 700,564 people, including 8,330 non-Florida residents, with the disease. Overall, 14,032 Floridians have died after the department reported 10 more fatalities, and 170 non-Floridians have died in the state.
On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis opened the Sunshine State effective immediately, lifting 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.
The new cases cover results returned between Saturday morning and Sunday morning. For all-day Saturday, DOH reported 1,871 positive cases with a median age of 39.
Officials typically confirm fewer positive cases in reports from Sundays and Mondays, which mostly include data collected over the weekend. The 1,871 cases are the fewest number of diagnoses made on a Saturday in September.
Florida has recorded a positivity rate below 5% in 14 of the last 16 days, coming in at 4.1% Saturday. Some experts say the positivity rate should be below 5% for two weeks before reopening services like schools.
But DeSantis has steered focus away from both the diagnoses count and the positivity rate. Instead, he began underscoring emergency department visits in early August after raising questions about the reliability of complete and timely reporting from private laboratories.
Hospital visits for illnesses related to COVID-19 have declined 11 consecutive weeks since July 5. That week saw 15,999 visits for similar illnesses while last week saw 3,817.
A similar hospital metric for influenza-like illnesses showed the second week-over increase in three weeks. But a DOH spokesman says influenza-like illnesses typically increase this time of year as cold viruses begin circulating in the first weeks of school. The 2,219 instances reported last week is still below the peak of 6,255 from the week of July 5.
Overall, 43,533 Floridians have been hospitalized, an increase of 64since Saturday’s report. But the Agency for Health Care Administration reports that only 2,104 people are currently hospitalized, an increase of four in the last 24 hours.
In total, 5.2 million Floridians have been tested for COVID-19, as have 20,983 non-residents in the state. DOH received results for 49,545 individuals Saturday.
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.