Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, setting another single-day record

©Miami Herald

Drivers line up for COVID-19 testing at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on July 2, 2020. - Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

MIAMI — Florida’s Department of Health on Thursday confirmed 10,109 additional cases of COVID-19, setting another single-day record and pushing the state’s total confirmed cases to 169,106.

Previously, the highest single-day total was reported on Saturday with 9,585 cases.

There were also 67 new deaths announced Thursday, bringing the statewide death toll to hit 3,617. One additional non-resident death was also announced, bringing the statewide non-resident death total to 101.

More than half of the new deaths but less than half of the new cases were in South Florida.

— Miami-Dade County reported 2,304 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 new deaths. The county now has 40,265 confirmed cases and 1,018 deaths, the highest in the state.

— Broward County reported 961 additional confirmed cases of the disease and nine new deaths. The county now has 17,116 known cases and 394 deaths.

— Palm Beach County saw 412 additional confirmed cases and 11 new deaths. The county now has 14,859 confirmed cases and 523 deaths.

— Monroe County reported 26 additional cases of the disease and one new death. The Florida Keys now have 296 confirmed cases and five deaths.

CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN FLORIDA

One of the tools that officials are relying on to determine if the coronavirus situation is improving in the state is hospitalization data. Unlike testing, which might be limited or take days to report results, hospitalizations can help give officials a real-time snapshot of how many people are severely ill with COVID-19.

Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance dashboard does not reflect the number of people currently hospitalized and only provides the total number of hospitalizations in its statewide and county-level data. That is expected to change sometime this week.

On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis office confirmed to the Miami Herald that the state would start reporting current hospitalization numbers for all counties sometime this week.

The change comes following a surge of cases in recent weeks with public health experts and the nonprofit COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer group that has become the most prolific coronavirus data collector in the country, pressuring the state to start reporting current hospitalizations, saying the information is a clearer way of assessing how bad the pandemic is getting.

On Thursday, the state was still only providing total hospitalization counts — 325 hospitalizations were added, bringing the statewide total to 15,150.

Hospitals in Miami-Dade have been self-reporting a number of key metrics, including hospitalizations, to the county, which has made this data public for several months.

On Wednesday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications hit another all-time high with a total of 1,298 patients, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard data. According to Wednesday’s data, 158 people were discharged and 169 people were admitted.

On Tuesday, hospitals reported a total of 1,202 patients, 116 people were discharged and 124 people were admitted.

Scientists are also still working to learn more about the virus, including how many people in the community are infected and have mild or no symptoms, which can make it difficult to determine what percentage of the cases hospitalizations represent.

COVID-19 TESTING IN FLORIDA

Testing in Florida has seen steady growth since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Testing, like hospitalizations, helps officials determine the virus’ progress and plays a role in deciding whether it is safe to lift stay-at-home orders and loosen restrictions.

The recommended number of daily tests needed varies among experts, but the dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine told the governor that Florida needs to test about 33,000 people every day.

On Thursday, Florida’s Department of Health reported 68,821 new tests on Wednesday. The positive rate was 16.78% of the total, according to the report. In total, 2,449,162 tests have been conducted.

To date, 2,033,794 people have been tested in Florida. Of the total tested, 169,106 (about 8.31%) have tested positive. The state says there are 1,683 tests with pending results.

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©2020 Miami Herald