120 more COVID-19 deaths push Florida’s toll over 4,000

Florida Department of Health reports 4 additional deaths in Duval County

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida passed another grim milestone Thursday as the Department of Health reported another 120 people have died in the state from COVID-19. That brings the number of Floridians and visitors to the state who have died with the virus to 4,111.

That was the highest single-day increase in deaths since the pandemic began in Florida on March 1. According to News4Jax tracking of FDOH’s daily reports, 83 deaths reported on April 28 was the previous daily peak.

Four of the most recent deaths were in Duval County, bringing the total to 74. Putnam County had an additional death in Thursday’s report, bringing that county to seven.

Florida added 8,935 new cases and has averaged more than 8,000 cases each day for a week.

Duval County added 589 new cases of coronavirus to push Jacksonville over 11,000. The percent of tests that came back positive in Jacksonville on Wednesday was 20.9% -- the first time its rate had surpassed 20%.

Florida’s positive testing rate on Wednesday was 18.3%.

It took Florida more than 3½ months to reach 100,000 cases of coronavirus in the state. It took only two weeks -- from June 22 to July 5 -- for that number to double. Thursday’s FDOH report shows 232,718 people have now tested positive.

The state reported 409 new Florida hospitalization admissions in 24 hours, making it the fifth day in July with more than 300 people with COVID-19 admitted to hospitals. In the previous four months the state has tracked the data, the highest daily number of hospital admissions was 265.

Three counties in Northeast Florida saw record daily increases in cases. St. Johns County’s caseload jumped by 115, bringing that total do 1,632. Clay County added 96, for 1,254 cases. Columbia added 29 additional cases.

In addition to Jacksonville, Clay and St. Johns counties also saw their highest positive testing percentages in the latest report: 20.0% in Clay and 15.6% in St. Johns.

The four additional deaths reported in Jacksonville included two men, 73 and 78 years old, and two women, ages 75 and 76. None had known to have traveled or contact with a person who had tested positive for coronavirus. The Putnam County death was a 78-year-old woman who also had not traveled or known to have had contact with someone with the virus.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who announced Tuesday he was in self-quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure, said hospitalizations for coronavirus are going up in the city but those patients aren’t flooding the intensive care units at local hospitals. He said the ICU beds, which are closely monitored, are filling up, but not with COVID-19 patients.

Locally, only two hospitals share their numbers with News4Jax. On Thursday, UF Health reported 83 COVID-19 patients, with 25 patients in the intensive care unit. Baptist Medical Center reported 129 COVID-19 patients in its system, with 22 patients in the ICU. Baptist and Ascension St. Vincent’s have announced visitation changes at their hospitals because of the increase in COVID-19 cases in the community.

Last week, Curry issued a face mask mandate for Jacksonville, requiring people to wear masks indoors when they can’t socially distance.

Jacksonville added three new federal testing sites at locations across the city Wednesday. The sites were opened because Jacksonville has been designated a “surge site” by the federal government, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the new sites will help identify areas of concern.

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