Jacksonville mayor says jump in COVID-19 positives is due to more testing

As Thursday’s coronavirus numbers showed another record-breaking day of cases locally and statewide, scientists are predicting Florida is the next large epicenter of the novel virus.

In Jacksonville, long lines have been seen all week at the Lot J coronavirus testing site. Thursday the line nearly reached the headquarters of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office more than a mile away.

The Latest Numbers

On Wednesday, the site administered 764 COVID-19 tests plus 230 antibody tests. Florida Health Officials say the sate reported 188 new hospitalizations because of more serious cases of the respiratory illness with a total of 12,577 patients who have been hospitalized with coronavirus.

Data shows hospital ICU beds are more than 75% full statewide.

The Reaction

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said the recent spike in cases was to be expected as testing has increased. In making his determinations of where to lead the city next as it relates to coronavirus, he said he relies on statistics that take into account all of the positive cases since the start of the pandemic.

Curry noted he does not use the rate of people testing positive daily.

A statement sent to the newsroom by a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office reads:

“While we do not think that we opened too soon, we do encourage all citizens to be responsible. Practice social distancing, wear masks in public places, and wash your hands frequently. We also strongly encourage anyone who is considered high risk, or those in contact with those individuals, to take extra precautions.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis blamed the spike on an increase of new cases in crowded living conditions in migrant families and nursing homes.

On Twitter, the hashtag #DesantisBetrayedFlorida started trending after scientists at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania said their projections show the Sunshine State has all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission and risks being the worst it has ever been.

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