Florida cracked 1.5 million COVID-19 diagnoses Tuesday after the Florida Department of Health reported an additional 15,896 individuals in the state had tested positive. That brings the total caseload since March in the state to 1,503,492, including 26,998 non-Florida residents.
The state hosts the third-highest number of infections in the nation, behind California’s nearly 2.8 million and Texas’ nearly 2 million cases. The state also reported 161 new deaths, nearly matching Monday’s total new fatalities. Now, 23,585 have died with the coronavirus, 358 of those out-of-state visitors who passed away in the state.
A total of 66,204 have been hospitalized with the virus.
The positivity rate for tests remains higher than health officials desire, with 13.14% of COVID-19 tests returned Monday coming back positive. It’s been more than 10 weeks since the state saw a positivity rate lower than 10%, and the lowest recorded rate in that time, of 10.04%, occurred 14 days ago on Dec. 29.
Meanwhile, the state continues to roll out vaccines at new sites around the state, several of which were unveiled by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday. As of noon on Tuesday, 597,119 Floridians had received their first vaccine, and 51,234 already received a booster shot to complete their vaccine series.
That means about 9,163 more individuals started their vaccine regimen since data was released Monday, and that the state reported more new infections Tuesday than vaccinations.
DeSantis has pushed back against assertions Florida has been slow to distribute vaccines to the general public. The Centers for Disease Control report 1,676,300 vaccines thus far have been distributed to the state, more than 1 million more shots than have reached arms. Meanwhile, reports have come in about snowbirds and even foreign nationals receiving vaccines ahead of U.S. citizens.
But DeSantis said Florida has done a good job inoculating seniors, the most at risk of dying from COVID-19. He noted that despite criticism about opening vaccines to all residents 65 and older, the federal government recently adopted the same policy, following Florida’s lead.
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, considers 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 non-residents 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.