Florida breaks daily COVID cases record for 2nd straight day

File photo. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Marta Lavandier, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

MIAMI – A day after breaking a record for the most cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic in the U.S., Florida added even more cases in a single day, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Friday, the Sunshine State reported 31,758 new COVID-19 cases. It topped that on Christmas Day with a report of 32,850 added coronavirus cases.

The new record daily increases were driven by the spread of the new omicron variant through Florida.

The previous single-day highest number of cases was in late August, during the height of the delta variant wave in Florida, when 27,802 cases were reported.

After the holidays, the number of cases could go up even more and hospitals could become loaded with COVID-19 patients.

The Florida Department of Health’s weekly COVID-19 data report, released Friday evening, showed a 13.8% increase this week in the statewide new-case positivity rate. That’s up from 5.3% last week and 2.6% the week before.

LIST: COVID-19 testing sites in Northeast Florida

Health officials say if you haven’t been vaccinated, to get your shots -- and get any needed boosters as well. Also, they want to remind you to wear that mask in an effort to fight the spread of the virus.

In the meantime, a South Florida-based cruise ship experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak is scheduled to return to Miami on Sunday following an 8-day cruise.

An undisclosed number of passengers and crew aboard the Carnival Freedom cruise caught the virus so the ship was denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba, Carnival said in a statement.

The ship has 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members. Passengers were required to be vaccinated and they were tested before leaving last Saturday, according to Carnival.

“Carnival Freedom is following all protocols and has a small number on board who are in isolation due to a positive COVID test," the statement said. “Our protocols anticipate this possibility and we implement them as necessary to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew."

Ashley Peterson, a passenger on the ship, tweeted a photo of a Dec. 22 letter from the ship’s captain apologizing for being unable to make stops in Aruba and Bonaire. The letter said passengers would get $100 per room in onboard credit, as well as refunds for planned excursions.

It was the third outbreak this week affecting cruise ships operated by Carnival and Royal Caribbean departing Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

About the Authors:

A Florida girl and North Carolina A&T SU grad who thrives in breaking news.