Florida adds nearly 20K coronavirus cases, a new record

Officials declared 170 people dead.

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Florida adds nearly 20K coronavirus cases, a new record

State health officials on Thursday confirmed 19,816 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-report increase for Florida, repeating a feat achieved Wednesday.

Officials on Wednesday reported 17,783 new diagnoses. However, neither day set a record for the most diagnoses issued in a day.

That distinction belongs to New Year’s Eve, when officials received word of 21,020 new cases. On Tuesday and Wednesday — the days coinciding with Wednesday and Thursday’s reports respectively — officials reported 17,342 then 19,473 new cases.

The Department of Health shows a total of 1,429,722 positive cases in its latest report, including 25,348 nonresidents. The state’s death toll rose to 22,817,647 people, including 336 nonresidents, an overall increase of 170 since Wednesday’s report.

Through early Thursday morning, 384,223 people have been vaccinated, including 14,601 people who have received their booster shot.

Of the 19,473 new cases confirmed Wednesday, the median age was 42. From the 193,251 residents tested, the positivity rate declined a percentage point to 11.6%.

However, COVID-19 cases and deaths reported by state health officials can sometimes be reported days or weeks later.

With the nation just past the Holidays, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned that numbers of new infections could jump in Florida and nationwide. However, he contends the state has taken the right steps to mitigate outbreaks.

“But I think it’s important to point out, Florida’s approach I think is the better approach,” he said Monday. “If you have a 73-year-old parent, 73-year-old grandparent, in the vast majority of states in this country, they are simply not eligible to be vaccinated, and we don’t believe that’s right.”

For every 100,000 Floridians, 104.1 people have died in the state. As many as 1.6% of Floridians that have tested positive have died.

Over the summer, the Governor shifted the state’s data focus away from the raw count of new cases and percent positivity rates, pointing instead to hospital visits with symptoms related to COVID-19 as his preferred metric.

After peaking at 15,999 coronavirus-related hospitalizations the week of July 5, DOH reported that hospitalizations declined. For 11 consecutive weeks, the state has recorded week-over increases in hospitalizations, topping out at 12,693.

The department’s dashboard shows no hospitalizations for symptoms related to the coronavirus last week. Officials may still update last week’s count and instead show an increase, as has happened in recent weeks.

As of Wednesday, 64,321 Floridians have been hospitalized after DOH recorded 439 new hospitalizations. The Agency for Health Care Administration reports that 7,331 people are currently hospitalized with the disease, a count that has continued rising in recent weeks and an increase of 28 since Wednesday afternoon.

By comparison, 2,081 people were hospitalized with a primary diagnoses of COVID-19 on Oct. 1; 2,371 were hospitalized on Nov. 1; 4,282 were hospitalized on Dec. 1; and 5,514 were hospitalized on Dec. 21, according to information The News Service of Florida has compiled from the agency’s website.

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, but remains in high demand, DeSantis on Monday warned that hospitals that underperform in distributing the vaccine will have future shipments reduced, allowing hospitals that successfully distribute the vaccine to continue doing so.

“Hospitals that do not do a good job of getting the vaccine out will have their allocations to hospitals that are doing a good job of getting the vaccine out,” he said. “We do not want vaccine to just be idle at some hospital system.”

The United States has seen a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases that has disproportionately affected the Upper Midwest.

Florida, the third most populous state, is only behind California and Texas in the total count of new cases, two states that are respectively the first and second most populous states. Officials in California have reported 2.5 million cases, including more than 50,000 in two separate recent updates, while officials in Texas have confirmed 1.6 million cases.

In the early days of the pandemic in March, at a time when access to coronavirus testing was low, officials had identified about 20,000 COVID-19 cases in Florida, recording just over 1,300 cases in a single day. After outbreaks subsided throughout April and May, cases began spiking in June and peaked at more than 15,000 cases in mid-July. In July alone, officials confirmed more than 300,000 new cases and the state’s total reached 470,386 by the end of the month.

Since October, cases have been on the rise again. The latest resurgence in coronavirus outbreaks has been a gradual increase in daily cases as opposed to the spike observed in the summer.

This article first appeared at Florida Politics

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