JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a week that included four consecutive days of record deaths from COVID-19 reported in Florida, the state seemed to turn a corner somewhat.
According to Sunday’s report from the Florida Department of Health, the state added 62 coronavirus-related deaths, the lowest daily increase the state has reported in weeks.
Florida’s seven-day average of daily reported deaths is now 176, second to Texas in the summer resurgence of the pandemic in the Sunbelt states. That compares with average daily reported deaths of more than 760 per day for New York in mid-April.
Florida has reported a total of 7,206 COVID-19 related deaths of residents and visitors since the pandemic began. Of that total, 17% -- 1,234 deaths -- were reported in the last seven days. Most of the deaths included in each day’s FDOH report have not actually died in the past 24 hours.
Seven of the additional deaths reported in Sunday’s update were in Northeast Florida: three in Putnam, two in Alachua and one each in Duval and St. Johns counties.
The Northeast Florida deaths included at 58-year-old Putnam County man, three patients in their 60s and three patients in their 80s.
Duval County has now reported 158 deaths, St. Johns County has reported 29, Putnam County has recorded 19 and Alachua County has reported 23.
On Sunday, the health department also confirmed 7,104 new cases of coronavirus in Florida, the lowest single-day increase in confirmed cases since July 6.
Duval County added 343 cases in Sunday’s report, and the rate of positive tests that came back Saturday was 7.5% in the county while the state’s positivity rate dropped to 9.28%.
Daily COVID-19 cases reported in Florida, Jacksonville
Florida has emerged as a coronavirus hotspot in recent weeks, with 487,132 positive cases reported this year. The disease prompted President Donald Trump to call off a full-fledged Republican National Convention in Jacksonville and has led to local mask-wearing orders in many cities.
The latest numbers Sunday came as Tropical Storm Isaias threatened Florida’s eastern coast with wind and rain. The National Hurricane Center’s latest prediction had the storm scraping past Florida but not making landfall.
“The most important thing we want people to do now is remain vigilant,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday.
The governor on Friday declared a state of emergency for all counties on Florida’s Atlantic coast -- from the Keys to Nassau County.
Hospitalizations for the coronavirus have been declining for the past week and a half, with fewer than 8,000 being treated for the coronavirus on Saturday, down from highs of more than 9,500 in the middle of last week.
Florida’s Department of Corrections secretary, Mark Inch, and a top deputy have also revealed they tested positive for the coronavirus after visiting a prison in Columbia County. It is not clear if that was where the infection occurred.
Neither requires hospitalization, according to an agency news release, and both are self-isolating.
“I want to encourage all Floridians to continue protecting our vulnerable residents, practice proper hygiene, wear masks when in close contact with others and practice social distancing to slow the spread of this virus,” Inch said in the statement.
Last week, the corrections department reported that 1,216 inmates housed at the Columbia Correctional Institution had tested positive for the coronavirus, most of whom had no symptoms. The prison houses about 2,200 inmates.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.