JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The string of record or near-record days of additional coronavirus cases in Florida and greater Jacksonville was broken as Monday’s increase slipped back, but to levels far exceeding daily totals just two weeks ago.
The Department of Health reported 5,266 additional coronavirus cases statewide Monday, bringing the total to 146,341. Duval County added 260 cases, bringing total cases to 5,839. St. Johns County had 57 new cases while Alachua added 40. Clay saw an increase of 27 and Columbia had 14 new cases. Flagler and Putnam counties both saw its totals increase by 10. Scroll down for full county-by-county data.
There were 28 additional deaths statewide in Monday’s report. No deaths in Northeast Florida counties were added in the past 24 hours.
The state’s surge of new positive cases began in mid-June and continued rising to a peak of 9,585 on Saturday. Jacksonville peaked Sunday at 740. The total number of Duval County residents diagnosed with COVID-19 that has been slowly building since early March doubled since June 21 and has risen faster than the state average. Florida has doubled its total cases since June 13.
The top five Duval County ZIP codes with the biggest increases in coronavirus cases included 32208 on Jacksonville’s Northside, which has seen the largest increase in positive cases. Since last Tuesday, there was a jump by 251 cases in that area. ZIP code 32202 in downtown Jacksonville was next, with an increase of 200 cases since a week ago. ZIP code 32246 on Jacksonville’s Southside near Beach Boulevard and Interstate 295 saw 156 cases added in the last week. And rounding out the top five were 32210 on the Westside with an increase of 141 cases and 32216, which covers the Southside area south of Arlington, where there was an increase of 125 cases in a week.
Testing numbers are way up, with long lines and wait times at Jacksonville’s largest drive-up and walk-up sites. The daily rate of positive tests in Duval County stayed below 5% throughout the month of May but has averaged 10% or above since mid-June and was 13.3% on Sunday.
New hospitalizations and deaths are also ticking upward in Florida, although not as dramatically as the new cases. New admissions this week have been between 160 and 170 per day, according to figures compiled by covidtracking.com.
State officials on Friday announced a ban on alcohol consumption at bars, and DeSantis explained Sunday there was “widespread noncompliance” in those businesses, saying they “tossed aside” safety guidelines. Several restaurants were shut down over the weekend in Broward County for not following rules restricting capacity and mandating the use of masks.
“It has invariably been because they packed so many people in and created a type of environment that we are trying to avoid,” DeSantis said over the weekend. “Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are.”
DeSantis said that between late May and early June, racial justice protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis diverted attention from the pandemic and people began to feel more comfortable going out.
“I do think you saw some of the vigilance wear down a little bit,” DeSantis said.
Jacksonville was the first community in Florida to reopen its beaches (April 17) and restaurants and non-essential businesses outside of South Florida were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity when the state entered Phase 2 on May 15. Bars and nightclubs were allowed to open with restrictions on June 5.
Beaches in Miami-Dade County, the hardest-hit, only reopened on June 10.
On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence called off campaign events in Florida and Arizona, another state that is also seeing a surge in cases. Pence was to appear at events in Lake Wales and in Sarasota County. He is still set to meet with Gov. DeSantis.
DeSantis said he worried that younger people who live with older relatives may infect those in groups who can get more severely ill with COVID-19. Numbers are showing that since the spike in cases began to show.
“For these younger groups they need to be thinking about who they are coming into contact with, who may be in the more vulnerable groups,‘' DeSantis said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.