JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Health officials in Florida reported Monday 1,885 new cases of coronavirus -- the first daily increase under 2,000 since June 15 -- and 68 additional deaths of people with COVID-19, continuing a downward trajectory in the pandemic’s impact on the state.
The state has reported 623,471 total cases in the state since March 1, but the daily increase is cases is way down from peaks averaging nearly 12,000 daily in mid-July.
The new deaths raised the total toll in the state since the pandemic began to 11,331 but lowers the average daily toll reported in the past week to under 115. There were no new deaths reported in Northeast Florida counties on Monday.
The positivity rate for Florida tests returned on Sunday was 5.52%, continuing to drive down the state’s average below 10%. The number of people being treated in Florida hospitals for COVID-19 has also been declining since highs of more than 9,500 on July 23.
Florida and Duval County’s daily COVID-19 case increases
Duval County’s increase of 69 cases reported Monday was also the smallest daily number since June 15, although its positivity rate on COVID-19 test results rose to 6.18% -- the highest in the last two weeks.
Contrary to mostly positive trends, Clay County saw a record daily increase in cases. The 132 reported Monday was the first time Clay County had seen more than 100 cases in a single day. It’s positively rate, which had averaged under 8% for the past week, rose to 12% on Sunday, according to the Flordia Department of Health.
As the caseload comes down, more school districts opened Monday and some coronavirus restrictions started easing up in parts of South Florida.
In Miami-Dade County, restaurants were allowed to welcome back diners to indoor seating for the first time in almost two months, provided masks were worn and the establishments operated at 50% capacity -- the same level of service restaurants in other parts of the state has been able to offer all summer.
In Palm Beach County, officials issued an order allowing tattoo and body piercing parlors, as well as tanning salons, to reopen starting Monday.
“This does not mean this is over by a long shot,” Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in an online news conference. “While we’re heading in the right direction, we’re not out of the woods.”
Under the order allowing indoor dining, restaurants will be required to run their ventilation and air conditioning systems with fans “on,” keep doors and windows open and limit no more than six people to a table.
Miami-Dade County also is allowing casinos to reopen, provided food and drink are consumed in eating-only designated areas, and drinking and eating is prohibited at gaming tables and slot machines.
Several large school districts reopened Monday, including St. Johns County. Florida’s largest school district, Miami-Dade, resumed classes Monday, though they were online rather than in person for at least a few weeks until the number of coronavirus cases in the county trends downward enough to resume in-person instruction.