Unwanted milestone: Florida surpassses 1.5 million COVID-19 cases


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It took nine months for Florida to reach 1 million cases of coronavirus. On Tuesday, just six weeks later, the Department of Health added 14,896 new COVID-19 cases, sending the state past 1.5 million cases.

Tuesday’s increase is close to the state’s daily average since the first of the year, which is about 40% higher than the previous peak daily average of 11,000 reached in July.

There were 949 new COVID-19 cases in Jacksonville reported Tuesday, 208 in St. Johns County, 169 in Clay County, 151 in Alachua County and 103 in Nassau County.

The state added 161 deaths in Tuesday’s report, bringing Florida’s count to 23,585. Nine of those deaths were in Northeast Florida: four in Columbia County, two in Duval County, and one each in Baker, Clay and Nassau counties.

There were 7,717 people hospitalized in Florida with COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon, a jump of over 200 from Sunday. Columbia, Nassau and Putnam counties had no availabilities of intensive care beds on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Alachua’s ICU availability was reported at 5.2%, Clay County had 10% of its ICU beds open, Flagler County was at 11.1% and Duval County’s was at 18.5%.

The rate of positive COVID-19 tests statewide on Monday was 11.57% and higher in Jacksonville and the surrounding counties. It has been stuck above 10% -- considered to be indicative of community spread -- since before Thanksgiving.

The state said it vaccinated 36,010 people on Monday has now vaccinated 648,353 people since the first supply made it to Florida hospitals on Dec. 14. That represents about 3% of the population of the state.

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