JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida reported more than 5,500 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the seven-day average in daily reported cases to about 3,300. That’s about 1,000 more per day since the beginning of the month.
County caseloads also saw some of the largest increases in months. Jacksonville reported 416 new cases -- the biggest one-day increase since July 30. Alachua reported 191 new cases. St. Johns added 66 and Clay’s case count increased 55.
The Florida Department of Health also confirmed 57 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 16,470. Sixteen of those deaths were in Northeast Florida: 12 in Union County, three in Bradford and one additional death attributed to COVID-19 in Baker County.
As deaths are often reported days if not weeks after the patient died, many of those deaths are likely tied to state prisons in those counties. The Florida Department of Corrections reported an additional seven Florida prison inmates have died of COVID-19, bringing the total to 161 since the pandemic started.
We reported earlier in the week that a corrections officer at the Lake Butler Reception and Medical Center had died and state data released Wednesday showed 31 inmates at that facility have also died.
Thursday’s line list of COVID-19 deaths did not provide any information on the most recent deaths in any local counties.
The rates of positive tests also have been ticking upward in recent days, with close to 7% percent of test-takers positive in numbers reported Thursday, compared with figures closer to 5% in early October.
Hospitalizations for the disease, however, have remained roughly stable over the past month, with between 2,000 and 2,200 being treated in Florida hospitals, according to a state online census of hospital beds.
Those figures compare with peaks of close to 10,000 in late July.
Thursday’s 5,557 cases bring the state’s known total of COVID-19 cases to 768,091 since March.
All Northeast Florida counties, many of which have seen daily positivity rates well under 5% in recent weeks, were well above 6% in the latest numbers, with the exception of St. Johns County.