Florida is facing a resurgent coronavirus, emphasized Saturday as testing positivity rates approach 10%.
Among 49,617 Floridians tested Friday, 9.95% tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the highest share in three months. In total, the Department of Health counted 4,452 cases that day.
But since Friday’s report, the department confirmed 4,544 diagnoses and 44 deaths tied to the virus. Overall, 875,096 people have tested positive in the Sunshine State, including 12,106 nonresidents. Additionally, 17,489 Floridians have died, as have 215 nonresidents, an increase of one.
For 16 days straight, the positivity rate has topped 5%, marking an increase in the rate of infections. Friday’s nearly 10% rate was was a slight increase from 8% the day prior.
Some experts say a community should maintain rates below 5% for 14 days before reopening services like schools.
For weeks, the Governor’s Office has acknowledged an uptick in the number of new positives, but Gov. Ron DeSantis has emphasized that Florida will keep its reopening course. Before the uptick in positivity rates, the Governor’s 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 in cases.
Notably, COVID-19 cases and deaths reported by state health officials can sometimes be reported days or weeks later.
New cases have increased across the country, particularly in the Midwest, and the nation has seen record-setting days for new infections.
Meanwhile, the White House and President Donald Trump‘s inner circle faces a second COVID-19 outbreak some speculate is tied to his Election Night celebration from Tuesday. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was the first prominent official to test positive, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson has also tested positive, according to reports Monday.
On Saturday, Sen. Rick Scott tweeted that after arriving in Florida Friday, he came in contact with a person who tested positive. The former Governor says he has no symptoms but will be immediately quarantining.
In Florida, DeSantis has for months shifted the state’s data focus away from the raw count and percent positivity rates, instead, pointing to hospital visits with symptoms related to COVID-19 as his preferred metric.
After peaking at 15,999 coronavirus-related hospitalizations the week of July 5, DOH reported that hospitalizations were in decline. But three of the last five weeks have seen week-over increases in the number of cases, the first since the first half of July.
As of Friday, 51,813 Floridians have been hospitalized after DOH recorded 271 new hospitalizations. The Agency for Health Care Administration reports that 3,151 people are currently hospitalized with the disease, an increase of 26 in about the last 24 hours. On Tuesday, active hospitalizations crossed 3,000 for the first time since September.
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.