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Florida breaks national record with 15,300 new coronavirus cases

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida on Sunday reported 15,300 additional coronavirus cases, the largest single-day increase in new cases in any one state since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to numbers released Sunday morning by the Florida Department of Health, the state has now recorded a total of 269,811 cases.

California had the previous record of daily cases — 11,694 — set on Wednesday. New York had 11,571 on April 15.

Florida’s previous single-day high was posted July 4 when the state reported 11,458 cases.

In Jacksonville, an additional 577 COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday, bringing Duval County’s total to 12,864 cases.

The state also reported 45 additional deaths related to the coronavirus on Sunday, including five in Duval County. The additional deaths in Duval County were a 66-year-old woman (case first counted June 20), a 91-year-old man (case first counted June 23), a 65-year-old woman (case first counted June 27), a 69-year-old man (case first counted July 1) and a 74-year-old man (case first counted July 8).

So far, 4,346 Florida residents and visitors have died with the virus since the state started tracking data in March.

The state on Sunday reported 248 new hospitalization admissions in 24 hours, bringing the total number of Florida residents who have been hospitalized since the coronavirus pandemic began to 18,271.

Helen Ferre, a spokeswoman for DeSantis, said Sunday that the state has tested more than 2.4 million people for COVID-19.

Ferre said the important statistic isn’t the raw number of positives, but the percentage. Florida’s positive testing rate on Saturday was 11.2%, while the percentage of tests that came back positive in Duval County on Saturday was 9.4%.

“The more people who get tested and are proportionately reporting negative for this virus is meaningful,” Ferre wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Testing has doubled over the last month, going from about 25,000 tests per day to almost 50,000, but the percentage of people testing positive has risen even more dramatically. A month ago, fewer than 5% of tests came up positive on a daily average. Over the past week, the daily average exceeded 19%.

About 10.7% of Saturday’s 143,000 tests came up positive, with an average age of 38.

“I still think we need to increase our testing a little bit more,” said University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Prins, adding that the state and local health departments should ramp up their contact tracing.

Prins said that she’s still concerned about large crowds, gyms and some restaurants as being places of mass transmission. Reports of illegal clubs and raves in South Florida is also a worry, she said.

“I really do think we could control this, and it’s the human element that is so critical. It should be an effort of our country. We should be pulling together when we’re in a crisis, and we’re definitely not doing it,” she said. “I know people want to live their lives. There have been a lot of other times, people have made those sacrifices in order to benefit our society. It’s almost like a war effort. That’s what we need right now.”

Throughout May and into June, the state reopened much of its economy with some restrictions — and the number of positive cases began rising, but it wasn’t until the last week that the daily death total began rising, too.

Because of the increase in cases and the positivity rate, doctors have predicted a rise in deaths, saying the mortality rate usually increases two to four weeks later as some of those infected get sicker and eventually die. Health experts are concerned that people are gathering in crowds, and have expressed concern that the Republican National Convention’s nomination party for President Donald Trump will be held in Jacksonville in August.

On Saturday, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened at Walt Disney World in Orlando, concerning health experts who urge people not to gather in groups. Guests at the park said that people were wearing masks and social distancing, and videos showed near-empty parks.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that even with the rising rates, he still wants the schools to reopen as scheduled next month, saying children have not proven to be vectors for the disease in states and countries where campuses are open. He said while each county will have to come up with procedures, depending on their local infection rate, not opening the schools would exacerbate the achievement gap between high- and low-performing students.Throughout May and into June, the state reopened much of its economy with some restrictions — and the number of positive cases began rising, but it wasn’t until the last week that the daily death total began rising, too.

Because of the increase in cases and the positivity rate, doctors have predicted a rise in deaths, saying the mortality rate usually increases two to four weeks later as some of those infected get sicker and eventually die. Health experts are concerned that people are gathering in crowds, and have expressed concern that the Republican National Convention’s nomination party for President Donald Trump will be held in Jacksonville in August.

On Saturday, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened at Walt Disney World in Orlando, concerning health experts who urge people not to gather in groups. Guests at the park said that people were wearing masks and social distancing, and videos showed near-empty parks.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that even with the rising rates, he still wants the schools to reopen as scheduled next month, saying children have not proven to be vectors for the disease in states and countries where campuses are open. He said while each county will have to come up with procedures, depending on their local infection rate, not opening the schools would exacerbate the achievement gap between high- and low-performing students.On June 29, Jacksonville Mayor Curry issued a face mask mandate for Jacksonville, requiring people to wear masks indoors when they can’t socially distance.

Jacksonville added three new federal testing sites at locations across the city Wednesday. The sites were opened because Jacksonville has been designated a “surge site” by the federal government, and DeSantis said the new sites will help identify areas of concern.

RELATED: Walk-up testing now available at Regency Square Mall site

This week, the city also plans to open three testing sites of its own located in Arlington, Mandarin and the Beaches communities.

In the graphic below, use the legend to turn off the sets of data you don’t want displayed to see only the metric you want to see.

Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved./Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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