JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida and Duval County both saw a record number of coronavirus cases reported Saturday by the state Department of Health.
According to the data released Saturday morning, confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide stood at 93,797, up 4,049 cases since Friday morning’s report. That’s a record single-day increase. The daily increase has been above 2,000 for the six of the last eight days and above 1,000 all but three days this month.
Duval County recorded 211 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours -- a record for the fifth day in a row. That brings the total number of cases reported in the county to 2,695.
Chart of daily illustrates increases in COVID-19 cases in Florida and Duval County over course of pandemic
St. Johns County’s increase Saturday of 35 confirmed cases was also a new one-day high. The county’s case total reached 433 as of 10 a.m. Saturday.
In the last 24 hours, Alachua County added 40 new cases, Columbia County recorded 14 additional cases, Clay County had an increase of 13 cases and Nassau County saw 10 new cases. Putnam and Flagler counties each added eight new cases, while Bradford County had a daily increase of three cases and Union County had a single new case reported. There were no new cases reported in Baker County.
The DOH reported Saturday the total number of coronavirus-related deaths was at 3,144. There were 40 additional COVID-19 deaths reported since Friday, though none of those deaths were reported in the 11 Northeast Florida counties tracked by News4Jax.
In the recent DOH report, a total of 12,939 patients statewide had been hospitalized with the coronavirus. The state does not release data specifically on how many patients are currently hospitalized with the virus.
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.
As of Saturday’s report from the health department, Florida had administered a total of 1.56 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.
At the testing site at Lot J outside TIAA Bank Field in downtown Jacksonville, the lines the last few days have been longer than they’ve been in weeks. On Saturday, News4Jax was told 749 people were tested at the site, and the average wait time was 15 minutes.
In the last 24 hours, the state reported a 12.36% percent positivity for new cases. According to the state, this percent is the number of people who test positive for the first time divided by all the people tested that day, excluding people who have previously tested positive.
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. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday the median age of new cases for Friday in Duval County was 29.
“So we’re seeing a major shift in this direction with this large 20- to 30-year-old population, mostly asymptomatic, but we’re also seeing that not only are they testing positive because they’re testing more, they’re also testing positive at a higher rate increasingly over the last week, and that’s something that you want to look at,” the governor said at a news conference in Tallahassee.
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.