Florida tops 15,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day, shat­ters U.S. record

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY TA­MARA LUSH AND TERRY SPENCER

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida shat­tered the na­tional record Sun­day for the largest sin­gle-day in­crease in pos­i­tive coro­n­avirus cases since the be­gin­ning of the pan­demic, adding more than 15,000 cases as its daily aver­age death toll con­tin­ued to also rise.

Ac­cord­ing to state statis­tics, 15,299 peo­ple tested pos­i­tive, for a to­tal of 269,811 cases, and 45 deaths were recorded.

Cal­i­for­nia had the pre­vi­ous record of daily pos­i­tive cases — 11,694, set on Wed­nes­day. New York had 11,571 on April 15.

The num­bers come at the end of a grim, record-break­ing week as Florida re­ported 514 fa­tal­i­ties — an aver­age of 73 per day. Three weeks ago, the state was av­er­ag­ing 30 deaths per day. Since the pan­demic be­gan in March, 4,346 peo­ple have died in Florida of COVID-19, the state says.

Test­ing has dou­bled over the last month, go­ing from about 25,000 tests per day to al­most 50,000, 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%.

About 10.7% of Saturday’s 143,000 tests came up pos­i­tive, with an aver­age age of 38.

Terry Shaw, Ad­ven­tHealth’s pres­i­dent and CEO, said Sun­day on CBS’ Face the Na­tion that the peak of COVID-19 hospi­tal­iza­tions in Florida will be “some­time in front of us in July.”

He said that the health system, which has 30 hos­pi­tals in Florida, has ad­e­quate PPE, a stock­pile of ven­ti­la­tors and a clin­i­cal team that’s learned how to bet­ter treat the disease.

“I give you an ex­am­ple. Our length of stay in our ICU for COVID pa­tients has dropped in half. The num­ber of peo­ple com­ing in to our hospi­tal with COVID that need a ven­ti­la­tor, we’ve also been able to cut that in half. And be­cause of those things, our death rate has also been cut in half ” since the be­gin­ning of the pan­demic, he said

On Saturday, the Magic King­dom and An­i­mal King­dom re­opened at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Guests at the park said that peo­ple were wear­ing masks and so­cial dis­tanc­ing, and videos showed near-empty parks.

JOHN RAOUX/AP

Health care work­ers per­form a COVID-19 test Sun­day in Orlando, Florida.

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