For the first time in eight weeks, barring two days with data irregularities, state health officials reported more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases in Florida on Saturday.
With 4,044 more cases identified since Friday’s report, 752,481 people have now tested positive for the coronavirus in the Sunshine State, including 9,463 non-Florida residents.
The latest data update includes cases detailed between Friday morning and Saturday morning. For all day Friday, officials counted 4,025 new cases among residents, the median age of whom was 38.
The Governor’s Office has noticed a recent uptick in the number of new positives. Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ communications director, Fred Piccolo, told Florida Politics that newly available rapid tests could be inspiring interest in testing. But he also acknowledged Phase Three and the full reopening of restaurants as probable factors driving an increase of cases.
The recent increase also comes after the state began initial talks on what level cases would need to drop the daily report’s frequency to weekly. Piccolo says there is no consensus yet and a decision is not imminent.
Officials also increased the death toll among residents by 87 to 15,917. At least one non-resident died, lifting the death toll among non-residents in the state to 201.
Five of the previous 14 days have seen percent positivity rates above 5%, including one day with an error that caused duplicate data. Three of those days occurred this week. On Friday, the percent positivity rate was 5.2%.
Some experts say a community should maintain rates below 5% for 14 days before reopening services like schools.
But DeSantis in past months has instead shifted the state’s focus away from the raw count and cases and the percent positivity rates. Instead, he has pointed toward hospital visits with symptoms related to COVID-19.
The week of Sept. 27, medical professionals reported 4,137 visits, a 12th consecutive week of decline. But for the first time since the week of July 5, when visits peaked at 15,999, the Department of Health reported an increase in emergency department visits. Last week, the state saw 4,219 visits.
On Sept. 25, the Sunshine State entered Phase Three of the state’s pandemic recovery plan, lifting all state-level restrictions and gatherings. The Governor’s order also prevents local governments from closing businesses outright and guarantees workers a right to work.
Overall, 46,976 Floridians have been hospitalized, an increase of 114 since Fridays report. But the Agency for Health Care Administration reports that 2,042 people are currently hospitalized with the disease, a slight increase in active hospitalizations.
In total, 5.7 million Floridians have been tested for COVID-19, as have 22,229 non-residents in the state. DOH received 83,567 test results Friday.
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.