JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A record number of coronavirus cases for both the Florida and Duval County was reported Friday by the state Department of Health. According to the latest data released, Duval County saw 175 new cases of COVID-19 -- a record for the fourth day in a row. St. Johns County’s increase of 33 cases also was a new one-day high -- doubling its previous daily total.
Statewide, confirmed cases are now at a total of 89,748, up by 3,822 since Thursday’s report. The daily increase has been above 2,000 for five of the last seven days and above 1,000 all but three days this month.
Jacksonville now has 2,484 confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase of 175 cases in the last 24 hours. That follows a jump of 115 cases the state reported on Thursday. The St. Johns case total rose to 398. Alachua also added 33 new cases, Clay had a daily increase of 12, Putnam, Nassau and Putnam each added four cases, Bradford was up two and Union county added one.
The state says the increases are due to testing being conducted combined with some spikes in some agricultural communities. The number of tests conducted daily peaked three weeks ago and the daily rate of positive tests has risen from 4% the first week of June to 10% on Thursday.
Duval County’s daily rate of positive cases has been climbing, up to 8% on Thursday.
The DOH reported the total number of coronavirus related deaths is now at 3,104. There were 43 additional COVID-19 deaths reported Friday, including the death of a 67-year-old man in Union County who was diagnosed on May 21.
The daily fatality rate in Florida in recent days is not even close to the daily record of 83 set in late April.
The state now reports a total of 12,774 patients have been hospitalized with coronavirus. The state does not release data specifically on how many patients are currently hospitalized with coronavirus.
The surge of cases so far this month coincides both with the reopening of Florida’s economy following the statewide Safer at Home lockdown and with an increase in the state’s testing capacity. The total number of tests administered has gone up by 28.6% in that same two-week period, but that is the number of tests, not the number of people tested.
As of Friday’s report from the health department, Florida had administered a total of 1.53 million tests for COVID-19, but a person can be counted more than once in the overall testing number because patients often need multiple tests over days or weeks before they are cleared to return to normal activities.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said the recent spikes in cases were to be expected as testing has increased. The city’s largest testing site -- Lot J at TIAA Bank Fiend -- has set record highs for the number of tests administered the last few days.
When he last spoke publicly on Tuesday, he cited a figure of 2.8% for positive cases in Duval County on Tuesday. But that’s looking at ALL of the positive cases, out of ALL of the tests done in Duval County since the start of the pandemic -- it’s not the current rate of people testing positive.
The daily positive rates for Duval County for the last week show the rate climbing as testing increases:
- June 10: 4.3%
- June 11: 2.6%
- June 12: 3.4%
- June 13: 2.3%
- June 14: 3.6%
- June 15: 5.6%
- June 16: 6.6%
- June 17: 5.7%
- June 18: 8.0%
On Friday, Curry sent his response to questions about the increases cases in Jacksonville in a statement:
“With many businesses now requiring a negative COVID-19 test result to allow employees to come to work, and with some clearly not taking this virus seriously, we are experiencing a surge in numbers at testing facilities,” Curry wrote. “Thankfully, despite our increase in cases, our hospitals are not seeing spikes of COVID-19 patients. Our hospital ICU’s beds are not near capacity because of COVID patients and JFRD reports emergency transports continue to stay at one or two COVID patients per day.”
Chart of daily illustrates increases in COVID-19 cases in Florida and Duval County over course of pandemic
The vast majority of people who test positive for the coronavirus recover and many never experience any symptoms and the fastest-growing age group now testing positive are 25-34. Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday the media age of positive cases identified in Jacksonville in the last 24 hours was 30.
“I think it’s important for people to understand -- a lot of the people who are testing positive now are not symptomatic,” DeSantis said. “The hospital executives talk about (how) they test people when they come in for procedures and those who test positive are almost always asymptomatic. And so, particularly in the younger cohorts, you’re finding infections with minimal or zero symptoms. That’s different from what we did at the beginning of the pandemic.”
The disease remains particularly dangerous for the elderly and people who have pre-existing health problems.
Tap on the legend at bottom of the infogram below to see the growth of cases, deaths and they daily increases since the first cases of COVID-19 were found in Florida on March 1.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.