JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida has dipped below 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 only two days since the New Year with 15,445 coronavirus cases added Saturday.
The state has now reported 456,531 cases since Dec. 1, when Florida surpassed the 1 million mark.
The current spike in infections is higher than the state was seeing during its previous peak of coronavirus cases in late July. The number of new cases in Florida in the first nine days of 2021 has reached 141,382 -- more than the total population of Gainesville.
The Flordia Department of Health has now identified 1,464,697 people with COVID-19 since the first case was identified in the state on March 1, 2020. Florida reported 139 additional deaths on Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 23,150.
There were 802 additional cases added in Duval County on Saturday. Three additional deaths in Jacksonville in Saturday’s FDOH report were among eight fatalities in the 11 counties in Northeast Florida.
St. Johns County added 165 cases Saturday, Clay County had 170 more, Nassau County added 86 cases, and Alachua County had 176 new cases.
The state’s rate of positive tests on Friday was 10.79%. Duval County’s rate was slightly lower than Florida’s and Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties’ rates were all above 13%.
As of 4 p.m. Saturday, 7,456 people in the state were hospitalized with the virus and fewer than 17% of hospital beds in the state are available.
People are eager for vaccines and swamped online registration sites in most counties, including Duval. Florida followed federal recommendations in starting vaccinations first for front-line medical workers plus residents and staff of nursing homes in mid-December. But instead of putting essential workers and people over 75 next in line, as federal recommendations suggested, Gov. Ron DeSantis moved in late December to open up vaccinations more broadly for people 65 and over.
So far, more than 514,000 people -- just over 2% of the state’s population -- have received a COVID-19 vaccine in Florida. That total includes 23,389 in Duval County, 9,688 in St. Johns and 4,804 in Clay.