Florida continues to add cases of COVID-19 by five-digit numbers each day.
But a massive expansion in vaccinations reported overnight offers hope that the pandemic is eventually coming under control.
The Department of Health reported another 13,720 cases on Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 1,531,192 since the pandemic struck the state last March. The total figure includes 27,663 non-Florida residents tested here for the coronavirus.
A total of 23,981 deaths of individuals with the virus was reported, boosting numbers by 222 overnight. The total number of deaths includes 368 visitors who died with the virus while here.
Hospitalizations in Florida climbed to 67,036 as the virus continues its spread in the Sunshine State at a significant rate.
Positivity rates in the state remain above 10%. But it was the lowest it has been in weeks in more than two weeks on Wednesday. On that day, the state reported 19,825 new positive test results had been returned out of some 164,137 tallied that day, generating a positive rate of 10.78%.
But the state now says more than 700,000 in Florida have received at least a first dose of two COVID-19 vaccinations. A total of 702,681 received the first dosage, and another 72,087 also received the booster to complete the inoculation.
The brings the total number of people vaccinated to 774,768, a massive increase of 67,290 more individuals to receive doses than were reported on Wednesday. That means vaccinations are outpacing infections, a positive sign for containing the coronavirus.
That bit of news came the same day Surgeon General Scott Rivkees told state Senators the rollout for shots had picked up. He countered the accusations Florida has been slow to put shots in arms.
“This narrative that vaccine is sitting in a freezer and it’s just waiting there,” Rivkees said. “I assure everybody that all the vaccine that we have in freezers right now is allocated for prompt administration.”
The question of who receives shots continues to plague the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis has championed a policy of opening vaccinations to all those age 65 and older, as well as dismissing assertions that foreign nationals in significant numbers have flown to Florida in search of the vaccine. He defended snowbirds living in Florida seasonally receiving shots and boosters.
The jump also comes as Florida said a statewide appointment system would go online within weeks.
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 includes the previous day’s totals and 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.