JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health on Friday morning reported yet another record increase in COVID-19 cases in Duval County, St. Johns County and statewide.
Nearly 9,000 additional cases were reported Friday, bringing the statewide total to 122,960. The 8,942 new cases blew past the previous one-day record of 5,508 that was reported Wednesday.
Friday’s report continues a trend of record-breaking days that began on June 11, days after most of Florida officially entered Phase 2 of reopening. The Florida data released Friday marked the ninth day in a row with an increase near or exceeding 3,000 cases.
Shortly after the state released the new numbers on Friday, Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Halsey Beshears said the state is suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.
The numbers Friday also showed record increases in coronavirus cases for both Duval and St. Johns counties for the second day in a row.
Duval is up to 4,171 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 447 cases in a single day. St. Johns County’s confirmed cases were up by 83 to a total of 682. It’s important to note that all of the positive tests reported Friday by the state were not necessarily taken on the same day.
An 88-year-old Clay County man was one of the 39 Florida resident deaths that were reported in the last 24 hours. Clay County has now reported 34 deaths since the outbreak began. A 68-year-old man also died in Alachua County.
There have now been 3,366 COVID-19 deaths reported in the state.
In response to the recent uptick in cases, several counties and cities have implemented emergency orders requiring the wearing of masks in public places like stores and are cracking down on businesses that aren’t enforcing social distancing rules. The St. Augustine City Commission passed a resolution Friday morning that will require face coverings inside businesses where social distancing is not possible.
Between Friday and next Wednesday, Nassau County Code Enforcement will begin visiting businesses to see if CDC and mask recommendations are being followed. If businesses don’t voluntarily comply the county is considering issuing an Executive Order making it mandatory.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said this week the state’s spike is being driven by outbreaks in large metropolitan areas, which is why he hasn’t issued a statewide order requiring masks. The Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Orlando and Tampa areas have seen the most cases. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has also said he doesn’t plan to issue a mask mandate.
Still, DeSantis said, every Floridian should avoid large indoor gatherings and wear a mask when in crowded businesses or in close contact with someone outside the home.
“Doing some of these simple things will make a big difference,” DeSantis said.
Demand for testing remains high, with long lines again Friday at Lot J, the state’s regional testing site that can test up to 750 people each day. The line for testing was backed up to the Main Street Bridge, and wait times continued on for hours.
One woman in the line at Lot J told News4Jax that it took her six hours to get tested.
After a month of decline, hospital admissions for coronavirus also have been rising, with a daily average of over 188 statewide over the past five days, a 30% jump over two weeks ago. Still, that is about 25% below the state’s peak in early May.
An additional 212 hospitalizations were reported Friday.
Hospitalizations statewide increased to a total of 13,987 since the beginning of March. The state does not release how many of those have recovered. News4Jax has contacted area hospitals about the numbers of COVID patients they are currently treating. Most say they will only turn that information over to the Health Department.
Dr. Leon Haley, CEO at UF Health Jacksonville, said during a press conference Wednesday that the numbers of admissions have doubled over the last week.
“We probably have about 30 patients that are currently under investigation, which means that we suspect they may or may not have it,” Haley said. “And we have seven patients in our ICU right now which is a significant increase over the last week.”
The percent of new COVID-19 tests returning positive statewide was 13.05% on Thursday -- up from the 8.92% in Wednesday’s report.
State and health officials have said the new cases have skewed younger in recent weeks and have been more likely to be mild or asymptomatic, which has kept the hospitalization and death totals below their peaks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
In the interactive chart below, use the legend below to turn on and off the categories of data to show exactly what you want to see.