JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As testing ramped up following a temporary shutdown of some sites because of Tropical Storm Isaias, coronavirus case numbers crept up again in Florida this week.
With 7,650 new confirmed cases reported Thursday by the state health department, Florida’s total for the week (Sunday-Thursday) is now over 30,000 cases. Thursday marked the 12th day in a row that fewer than 10,000 newly recorded cases were reported in Florida.
Florida reported 120 new deaths Thursday, bringing its seven-day average of daily reported deaths to 166, behind Texas with 197. They compare with more than 760 in average daily deaths for New York at its peak in mid-April.
The number of people treated in hospitals statewide for the coronavirus continued a two-week decline, with 7,622 patients late Wednesday morning — a decrease of 175 from the previous day and down from highs of 9,500 two weeks ago.
Five of the newly reported deaths were in Northeast Florida counties, including a 74-year-old man and a 93-year-old man in St. Johns County, an 80-year-old man in Duval, a 73-year-old man in Clay and a 75-year-old woman in Putnam. (Note: Most of the deaths included in each day’s FDOH data had not actually died in the past 24 hours as deaths often take several days to be reported.)
The rate of positive COVID-19 tests -- considered a measure of active infection spreading in the community -- dropped statewide to 8.34% but rose slightly in several local counties on Wednesday, including Duval (7.3%), St. Johns (6.2%) and Clay (10.0%)
Epidemiologist Jonathan Kantor says a 14-day average with declining numbers will be a real indicator that Florida is flattening the curve.
Daily COVID-19 cases reported in Florida, Jacksonville
Gov. Ron DeSantis this week announced that quicker antigen testing, with results in about 15 minutes, would be offered at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens and at Marlins Park.
“Obviously if you are somebody that is symptomatic and you don’t get your result back for 7 days that is not helpful. For asymptomatic test takers, if it takes 7 days then the test is basically useless at that time,” DeSantis said at a news conference.
The antigen tests reveal whether someone is currently infected with COVID-19. The site is offering these tests to children between 5 and 17, and for anyone 65 and up, regardless of symptoms. Anyone in the 18 to 65 age group who is experiencing symptoms can also be tested at the site, which also has self-swab testing for those 18 to 64 who aren’t experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, according to officials.
Antigen testing reveals whether a person is currently infected with COVID-19. It differs from antibody testing because once the infection is gone, antigens won’t be present.