70ºF

Jacksonville reports nearly 2 dozen COVID-19 deaths in 2 days

11 additional deaths in Duval County among 187 reported statewide Saturday

FILE - In this April 16, 2020, file photo, a medical worker places a swab in a vial while testing the homeless for COVID-19 through the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, during the new coronavirus pandemic, in Miami. An Associated Press analysis finds that most states are not meeting the minimum levels of testing suggested by the federal government and recommended by public health researchers even as many of them begin to reopen their shattered economies. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
FILE - In this April 16, 2020, file photo, a medical worker places a swab in a vial while testing the homeless for COVID-19 through the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, during the new coronavirus pandemic, in Miami. An Associated Press analysis finds that most states are not meeting the minimum levels of testing suggested by the federal government and recommended by public health researchers even as many of them begin to reopen their shattered economies. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville reported nearly two dozen more coronavirus-related deaths in the last two days, according to data from the state health department.

Duval County’s total number of deaths related to COVID-19 went up by 12 on Friday and another 11 on Saturday, bringing the county’s total to 188 deaths since the pandemic began.

Another four deaths were reported across four other Northeast Florida counties on Saturday. (Note: Most of the deaths included in each day’s Florida Department of Health data did not actually die in the past 24 hours, as deaths often take days to be reported.)

Statewide, 187 additional deaths related to COVID-19 were reported Saturday among Florida residents and visitors, bringing the state’s total to 8,238 deaths since Florida health officials began tracking coronavirus cases in March.

Overall case totals are down from their peaks in July, and Saturday marked the 14th day in a row that fewer than 10,000 newly recorded cases were reported in Florida.

The state added 8,502 cases on Saturday to reach a total of 526,577.

While the state is trending down overall in the daily increase in cases, Baker County has seen a major spike with a record 197 more cases reported Saturday to bring the county’s total to 827. More than 55% of those (456) have been reported this week (Sunday-Saturday), but a good portion of those seem to be connected to an outbreak at the Baker Correctional Institution.

With the new deaths reported statewide Saturday, the seven-day average for Florida is now 156, down from a high of 185. The number is below 218 for Texas over the past week and more than 760 for New York at its peak in mid-April.

Of the 11 deaths added in Duval County on Saturday, the youngest was a 60-year-old man and the oldest was a 99-year-old woman. A 69-year-old man in Columbia County, a 63-year-old woman in Clay County, an 84-year-old woman in Putnam County and a 62-year-old man in Union County also were added to the deaths for Northeast Florida on Saturday.

Florida does not disclose if patients who died related to the virus had underlying health conditions.

Despite the increase in reported deaths, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a Friday news conference that hospitalizations, positivity rates and other indicators were improving.

“Hospitalizations (have) a great movement downward everywhere in the state. Let’s just keep that going,” he said after holding a discussion with transportation industry executives.

The number of people being treated in Florida hospitals for the disease has been on the decline for just over two weeks. There were 7,174 patients in the late morning Friday, according to a state census posted online, 175 fewer than the previous day and down from highs of more than 9,500.

“I think people have done a good job, and that’s the way these things go,” DeSantis said.

The rate of positive COVID-19 tests -- considered a measure of active infection spreading in the community -- ticked down statewide to 9.91%.

Daily COVID-19 cases reported in Florida, Jacksonville

DeSantis said he wants the numbers to continue to improve so tourism can resume and workers in the hospitality and the service industry can return to work.

The governor pointed out that Orlando, home to several theme parks, had done a good job of mitigating the spread, but it was “not where they need to be.” He said worst-hit South Florida was still behind.

“I want all these people back to work,” he said. “As we continue to see positive trends, we will have an opportunity to see some improvements.”