JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The record streaks ended Sunday for Florida and Duval County’s reported coronavirus cases numbers, but both still saw significant increases in total confirmed cases of COVID-19.
According to data released Sunday morning by the Florida Department of Health, the state has now reported 97,291 cases of coronavirus -- an increase of 3,494 in the last 24 hours. That’s the third-highest single-day increase Florida has reported, after Saturday (4,049 new cases) and Friday (3,522).
The daily increase across Florida has been above 2,000 for six straight days and above 1,000 all but three days this month.
Duval County’s reported an additional 207 cases in the last 24, bringing Jacksonville’s total to 2,902. That’s the second-highest single-day increase the county has reported.
Florida health officials issued an advisory this weekend reiterating recommendations for residents to wear masks in public and avoid large crowds. The advisory also encouraged vulnerable populations like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to stay home as much as they can.
Chart illustrates increases in COVID-19 cases in Florida and Duval County over course of pandemic
Clay County is nearing 500 cases with 494 reported so far, and St. Johns County now has reported 461 cases. Alachua County has seen a serious of large jumps in cases lately and now reports 716 total cases.
In the last 24 hours, Putnam County added 16 new cases, Columbia County added eight, Nassau added four, Flagler and Baker each added two and Union added one. There were no new cases reported in Bradford County.
The DOH reported Sunday the total number of coronavirus-related deaths was at 3,161. There were 17 additional COVID-19 deaths reported since Saturday, though none of those deaths were reported in the 11 Northeast Florida counties tracked by News4Jax.
In the recent DOH report, a total of 13,037 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 Sunday’s report from the health department, Florida had administered a total of 1.6 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 an 11.89% 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.