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Last week saw mixed signals about the spread of COVID-19 with a relative high in new cases and testing positivity rates, but a decline in hospitalizations.
Sunday’s report from the Department of Health shows 2,539 new cases in the state since Saturday’s report, which showed 4,044 new diagnoses, the most in eight weeks. And Monday’s report showed 1,707 new cases.
Throughout last week, the state saw 20,304 new cases, the most in at least five weeks. The weekly percent positivity rate also rose above 5% for the first time in five weeks.
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 how low cases would need to go to drop the daily report’s frequency to weekly. Piccolo says there is no consensus yet and a decision is not imminent.
The latest data update includes cases detailed between Monday morning and Sunday morning. For all day Sunday, officials counted 1,766 new cases among residents, the median age of whom was 38.
Officials also increased the death toll among residents by 54 to 16,021. Among non-residents, the death toll remained 201.
Five of the previous 14 days have seen percent positivity rates above 5%, including one day with an error that caused duplicate data. On Sunday, the percent positivity rate was 4.9%.
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 percent positivity rates. Instead, he has pointed to hospital visits with symptoms related to COVID-19 as his preferred metric.
Two weeks ago, the Department of Health reported its first week-over increase in hospital visits since the week of July 5, when visits peaked at 15,999. But hospital visits dropped from 4,912 that week to 4,181 last week.
Overall, 47,125 Floridians have been hospitalized, an increase of 72 since Sunday’s report. The Agency for Health Care Administration reports that 2,058 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 22,314 non-residents in the state. DOH received 39,731 test results Sunday.
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.