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Florida coronavirus cases break 1,000 with 19 new Tampa Bay cases

State health officials announced 244 new cases Sunday, and an additional death in Palm Beach County.
In this March 17, 2020 photo, a health worker displays the packaged nasopharyngeal swab, which goes about two inches into the nasal cavity, used on patients at a drive-through COVID-19 testing station for University of Washington Medicine patients in Seattle. A backlash roiled across social media Wednesday, March 18, as several celebrities and professional athletes revealed that they had been tested for the coronavirus, even when they didn’t have a fever or other tell-tale symptoms. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
In this March 17, 2020 photo, a health worker displays the packaged nasopharyngeal swab, which goes about two inches into the nasal cavity, used on patients at a drive-through COVID-19 testing station for University of Washington Medicine patients in Seattle. A backlash roiled across social media Wednesday, March 18, as several celebrities and professional athletes revealed that they had been tested for the coronavirus, even when they didn’t have a fever or other tell-tale symptoms. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) [ ELAINE THOMPSON | AP ]
Published Mar. 22, 2020
Updated Mar. 23, 2020

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State officials announced 244 new positive coronavirus cases Sunday, bringing the total to 1,007, the biggest one-day surge since Florida began testing. One new death was added to the 12 previously reported, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Of the new cases, eight were in Hillsborough County, which now has 58 cases. The county is fourth in the state for positive cases, trailing Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, as of Sunday.

Related: The latest Monday: Hillsborough up to 73 coronavirus cases as Florida counts 164 new infections

An additional eight cases were reported in Pinellas County, where there are now 38. Three more were announced for Pasco County, which now has 11 cases. No new cases were reported for Hernando County, which has five.

The new death reported Sunday came from Palm Beach County.

The day’s surge of positive cases comes as testing ramps up. More than 11,000 people in the state have been tested since the beginning of March — and about 2,400 of those tests were reported Sunday.

About a thousand people are still awaiting results, and the state is monitoring about 1,100 others due to exposure to the virus.

Hillsborough County received 900 test kits Saturday, which will be used to open a drive-through testing center at Raymond James Stadium. Local leaders said the kits weren’t enough to start testing, but state officials said everywhere is in short supply and that Hillsborough should begin as soon as they can.

By 7 p.m. Sunday, the county had not announced the opening of its planned testing site. Officials with the county and City of Tampa said it is possible the site will open Monday.

"It’s a rough target,” said city spokeswoman Ashley Bauman. “We’re still in conversations with our local healthcare providers and institutions, and we’re working together to ensure we’re operational as quickly as possible.”

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