JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A week after posting a single-day record for new coronavirus cases, Florida hit another grim milestone on Saturday -- passing a quarter-million cases.
With an additional 10,360 cases reported Saturday, according to data from the Florida Department of Health, the state has now reported 254,511 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
A week ago, the state hit a single-day high with 11,458 cases reported on July 4.
In Jacksonville, an additional 515 COVID-19 cases were reported Saturday, bringing Duval County’s total to 12,287 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began.
The state also reported 98 additional deaths related to coronavirus on Saturday with 18,023 patients hospitalized since the pandemic began.
So far, 4,301 residents and visitors to Florida have died with the virus since the state began tracking data in March. Duval and St. Johns counties each reported two additional deaths on Saturday and Clay County reported one.
In Duval County, the additional deaths were an 89-year-old woman (case first counted June 22) and a 96-year-old man (case first counted July 7). In St. Johns County, the additional deaths were a 76-year-old man (case first counted June 13) and a 68-year-old woman (case first counted July 8). In Clay County, the additional death was a 70-year-old man whose case was first counted May 20.
Florida has averaged more than 8,000 cases each day for more than a week.
The percent of tests that came back positive in Jacksonville on Friday was 11.4%. Florida’s positive testing rate on Friday was 12.5%.
Testing has increased, but the percentage of people testing positive has risen even more dramatically. A month ago, fewer than 5% of tests came up positive on a daily average. Over the past week, the daily average exceeded 19%.
Because of the increase in cases and the positivity rate, doctors had been predicting a rise in deaths, saying the mortality rate usually increases two to four weeks later as some of those infected get sicker and eventually die.
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.
The state reported 421 new Florida hospitalization admissions in 24 hours, making it the seventh 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.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in Bradenton that hospitals across the state would be getting additional shipments of Remdesivir, which can be used to treat COVID-19. The shipment had been scheduled for later in the month, but DeSantis said he worked with the federal government to move up the timetable to make sure there isn’t a gap in treatment.
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 Friday, UF Health reported 88 COVID-19 patients, with 29 patients in the intensive care unit. Baptist Health reported 141 COVID-19 patients in its system, with 16 patients in the ICU. Baptist, Ascension St. Vincent’s and Mayo Clinic 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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