JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida reported 136 additional deaths across the state linked to the coronavirus and 9,440 new cases of COVID-19, according to data released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health.
Among those deaths were seven additional patients in Jacksonville -- ages 62 to 100. (The deaths did not all occur in the last 24 hours. The state’s death data often have significant delays in reporting and some of the deaths may have occurred weeks ago.)
Since the pandemic began, 105 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Duval County.
Nassau County reported its fifth death in Tuesday’s data -- a 93-year-old man.
Since the first Florida cases of COVID-19 were reported on March 1, there have been 369,834 cases in the state, resulting in 5,319 deaths.
Duval County had 299 additional cases reported Tuesday for a total of 17,544. Its percentage of positive tests on Monday was 11.1%. According to Mayor Lenny Curry, Jacksonville currently has 531 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 with 118 patients in ICUs.
St. Johns County had 71 additional cases reported Tuesday with a 9.6% positivity rate.
Florida has averaged more than 10,000 additional cases each day of July. The state’s single-day record for new cases, July 12, remains at 15,300.
Of those who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state, 21,780 patients have been hospitalized across the state since Florida began tracking data in March. The state does not report a number of patients who have recovered.
Florida is considered in the “red zone,” according to an unpublished document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force that was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom.
The 359-page document outlines and suggests measures that the states in the “red zone” should take, encouraging people to “wear a mask at all times.” It suggests states limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer and maintain closures of bars and gyms.
While the state regulator in charge of businesses said Friday that bars will not be reopening yet in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis has declined to close gyms again, saying people should have the chance to stay healthy.
As the spike in cases continues across the state, many school districts are grappling with the challenge of finding ways to safely reopen this fall.
DeSantis said last week during a news conference that decisions about school reopenings shouldn’t be made based on fear.
“We can figure out how to get this done,” DeSantis said. “I’m confident of that.”
A little over a week ago, Richard Corcoran, the state’s education commissioner, issued an order for all schools to reopen for in-person classes during the fall. The order also instructs school districts to follow the advice of state and local health officials as well as executive orders issued by DeSantis.
As coronavirus cases skyrocket, daily life is looking very different in the Sunshine State, where many popular beaches are shuttered, residents and tourists can be fined for not wearing masks, and bars across the state aren’t allowed to pour liquor to toast the carefree days of summer.
There are 49 hospitals in Florida with 0% ICU beds available, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration website as of 3 p.m. Sunday. Five of those hospitals are in Broward County, just north of Miami Dade, which now has an overnight curfew in place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
The coronavirus has tapped out intensive care units of some hospitals around the state, and hospitalizations continue to rise, though not quite as steeply as on some days during the past week. As of Sunday, there were more than 9,290 hospitalizations, compared with more than 9,100 on Saturday. Hospitals in Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville have reported recent surges and a critical shortage of the antiviral remdesivir.
Critics have complained that DeSantis has not mandated a statewide mask ordinance as cases rise. The Republican governor has repeatedly said policies in hard-hit South Florida might not make sense in the Panhandle, where the infection rate is lower.
The criticism has increased as the state’s hardest-hit areas are ramping up restrictions, doubling down on mask use and instituting curfews to help reduce the spread.
The Miami-Dade County Commission recently approved an emergency order that gives code and fire inspectors authority to issue tickets of up to $100 for individuals and $500 for businesses that don’t comply with restrictions.
Yet, Walt Disney World reopened its Epcot and Hollywood Studios theme parks on Wednesday. Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opened last weekend. Both Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando opened last month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.