Florida added more than 9,500 coronavirus cases on Saturday, beating the previous day’s record high — a record that beat the one before it by more than 3,000 cases.
On Saturday, the Florida Department of Health announced 9,585 cases, bringing the total infections recorded since early March to 132,545 cases. Hillsborough County, the county with the fourth highest number of coronavirus cases in the state, saw a record-high number of new infections.
The state also recorded 25 deaths, making the death total 3,489 people over the four months since the pandemic began in the state. More than half of the deaths reported Saturday came from the Tampa Bay area. An additional 151 people statewide were hospitalized, the report said.
How fast is the number of Florida COVID-19 cases growing?
What’s the picture across the state?
On Friday, the secretary of the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Hasley Beshears, announced that the department would not allow the consumption of alcohol at bars.
In a Friday press conference, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the surge in cases could be attributed mainly to more testing.
“Really nothing has changed in the past week in terms of, we had a big test dump,” DeSantis said. “Ten to 15 percent have been testing positive for really the last week.”
DeSantis also said on Friday that he didn’t believe requiring masks would make an impact, mainly when it comes to the question of how to implement and enforce a criminal penalty.
But Dr. Marissa Levine, a professor of public health and family medicine at the University of South Florida, said it’s clear the virus is spreading faster in the community and people need to take action, such as social distancing and wearing masks.
“Without doing anything differently, we’re going to see tens of thousands of new cases every day in short order,” Levine said.
As of Saturday, Florida has tested more than 1.8 million people for the virus. The median age of those who have tested positive in the past week is about 34, according to state health officials.
In the past week, an average of about 14 percent of tests per day in the state have come back positive, according to Johns Hopkins University. Florida is one of 23 states exceeding the World Health Organization’s recommended guideline of a 5 percent positivity rate.
Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?
What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?
The Tampa Bay area added 2,872 cases on Saturday, about 30 percent of the state’s daily total. More than 1,100 of those were reported in Hillsborough County, which has recorded the most coronavirus cases after the three South Florida counties.
The area also reported 14 deaths on Saturday, with eight in Pinellas County, five in Polk County and one in Manatee County. The numbers make up more than half of the state’s 25 daily deaths.
More than half of the state’s total deaths are tied to long-term care facilities. In the Tampa Bay area, about 66 percent of deaths are tied to long-term care outbreaks.
The new deaths include an 80-year-old Manatee woman; in Pinellas, six women ages 54, 70, 71, 73, 75 and 82, and three men ages 68, 71 and 90; and in Polk, men ages 66 and 80 and women ages 73, 79 and 82.
As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has had 9,130 cases and 135 deaths; Pinellas has had 5,713 cases and 151 deaths; Polk has had 3,182 cases and 93 deaths; Manatee has had 2,642 cases and 131 deaths; Pasco has had 1,630 cases and 18 deaths; Hernando has had 312 cases and six deaths; and Citrus has had 264 cases and 12 deaths.
Florida coronavirus cases by age group
Doctors say older people are at a greater risk to developing severe symptoms from COVID-19, which makes Florida especially vulnerable.
• • •
Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage
HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.
SO YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE? Read these 10 tips first
UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits
GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.
HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips
We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.