Florida Department of Health officials announced another day of record-high cases of COVID-19 on Friday with 3,822 new cases, increasing the number of active cases of the virus to 89,748. The all-time high marks 15 of the last 16 days in which the state reported of 1,000 or more confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Florida.
The record-high number of cases on Friday shattered the record set on Thursday when the state recorded 3,207 new cases of the virus.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the state has tested 1.53 million people, with 1.44 million of those testing negative for COVID-19. Meanwhile, 3,104 people who’ve tested positive for the new coronavirus have died, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Florida counties hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak include Miami-Dade with 23,854 cases and 859 deaths; Broward with 10,111 cases and 365 deaths; and Palm Beach with reported 9,854 cases and 450 deaths.
Last month, Governor Ron DeSantis announced all 67 of Florida’s counties could begin a phase one reopening on May 18 under the state’s plan. This phased reopening allowed restaurants, retailer stores, museums, gyms and fitness centers to operate at 50 percent capacity. Sports teams were welcomed back, and amusement parks were encouraged to submit a plan for reopening.
The state began phase two of reopening earlier on June 5, with Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties remaining in phase one. Phase two allowed for the resumption of non-essential travel and restaurants opening at 75 percent capacity, along with amusement parks and sporting venues at limited capacity as well.
The phase three portion of Florida’s reopening would begin if “there is no evidence of a rebound or resurgence of COVID-19 cases…,” according to the state plan.
According to a Miami Herald report, the number of cases in Florida has been on a trend upward since mid-May when the state began reopening. Despite the trend, DeSantis remained committed to the state’s reopening plan and would not consider another shutdown because it would do more harm than good for Floridians.
“We’re not rolling back,” the governor said during a news conference Tuesday when asked whether he would consider stopping some reopening efforts. “The reason we did the mitigation was to protect the hospital system.”
DeSantis later said at a press conference on Friday that the new positive COVID-19 cases were not confined to older nursing home patients, but patients 40 or younger with some having underlying health issues.
“When we started this, the median age was in the 60s in the state of Florida,” he said. “What we’ve seen the last couple of weeks is a dramatic decline of that median age, so that as of yesterday or last week, the median age of all the positive test in the state of Florida was 37. I can tell you that with the cases we have been seeing this week, that median age is plunging even further.”
DeSantis said 62 percent of the patients who tested positive for the new coronavirus since June 7 were under the age of 45.
“A lot of the people who are testing positive are not symptomatic. In the younger cohort, you are finding infections with minimum or zero symptoms,” he said. “You are definitely seeing a different complexion the ages of those being tested.”
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