Nearly 7,000 more people test positive for COVID-19 in Florida, the most cases since August

Andrew Boryga, Sun Sentinel
·4 min read

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida is once again seeing a rise in the number of people infected with COVID-19. The total confirmed coronavirus cases are beginning to resemble August’s figures — except this time, the state is on an upward trajectory, not a downward one.

After daily caseloads that reached over 15,000 in July, August was the start of a slow descent for Florida. By September, daily cases were below 4,000 a day and reached even lower to less than 3,000 a day by early October.

But Friday, the state was reporting another high tally of cases — 6,933 more people were infected with COVID-19. That’s the most since Aug. 12. (Florida on Sept. 1 had reported more than 7,000 new cases, but that was due to a testing backlog.)

The state’s positivity rates also are beginning to mirror trends not seen since August.

The state on Friday said the positivity rate was 7.95%, for new cases only, up from 7.35% reported on Thursday.

The last time the positivity rate, which reached a recent high of 8.29% on Nov. 6, trended that high was in early August. Infectious disease specialists warn that a rate over 5% shows the virus is not under control.

With the official data released Friday, Florida has confirmed 870,552 total cases of COVID-19.

The state reported another 74 deaths from the virus. That number does not yet mirror the month of August, which averaged well over 100 deaths a day including a pandemic high of 276 on Aug. 11.

Public health experts say the virus is considered under control when the COVID-19 test positivity rate is under 5%. Florida exceeds 5% by both of its measures of assessing the rate for testing of residents.

In the first calculation, the state reported a daily positivity rate of 7.95%. This method of calculating positivity counts new infections only, but also counts repeat negative tests, which skews the figure downward.

According to the state, Friday’s new case numbers reflect the results of 94,776 COVID-19 tests of Florida residents received from labs in the past day, up from 82,868 results reported Thursday.

In the second calculation, which includes retests of people who were previously diagnosed, the statewide daily positivity rate is 9.18%, based on the latest results for 94,776 residents. That’s up from 8.55% the previous day.

COVID-19 infections among children under age 18 are rising by hundreds of cases each day in Florida. Friday’s data show 75,721 cases statewide, an increase of 715 from the previous day.

Records show 635,443 kids have been swabbed since the beginning of the pandemic. About 11.9% of them have tested positive.

The statewide report also shows 878 children have been treated in hospitals for COVID-19 illness since March; nine have died. The death total has been the same since Sept. 26.

The number of people hospitalized in Florida for COVID-19 went up in the past day, records show.

As of 3 p.m. Eastern time Friday, 3,129 people were hospitalized in Florida with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. That’s an increase of 67 patients in the past 24 hours.

The online report from the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates frequently throughout the day. Hospitalizations hit a peak in late July of about 9,500 patients. Four weeks ago, the number was 2,155 and has been on a steady increase since.

Since the pandemic began, 51,542 residents have been hospitalized for the disease, state health officials say.

The state’s pandemic data report shows a total of 17,445 Floridians had died from COVID-19. In addition, the deaths of 214 nonresidents have been attributed to the virus. Most of the fatalities reported Friday happened in recent weeks but were just confirmed in the past day.

Florida has the fourth-highest total of COVID-19 deaths among the states, behind California, Texas and New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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