What to Know
- Florida reported nearly 14,000 new cases Thursday, bringing the state's total to more than 315,000
- The state reported 156 new virus-related deaths, bringing the total to 4,766 since the outbreak began
- The number of Florida residents hospitalized with the virus since the beginning of the pandemic increased by a record 491 over the last 24 hours
Florida reached another ominous mark Thursday with a record 156 deaths from the coronavirus reported in a single day as the state continues to experience a swift rise in cases.
The state Department of Health reported 13,965 new coronavirus cases in Florida, bringing the total throughout the pandemic in Florida to 315,775. More than 83,000 cases have been reported in the past seven days.
In Miami-Dade County, the state's most populous and the current epicenter of the outbreak, there were more than 3,100 new coronavirus cases reported.
The 156 deaths statewide eclipsed the previous record set Tuesday of 132 reported deaths. On a seven-day average, Florida is now at over 100 deaths per day — well above previous months.
Thursday's additional deaths include some that took place days or weeks ago, because of the delay involved in confirming whether they were COVID-related. The previous record had been set on Tuesday with 132 new deaths.
Hospitalizations also have been surging, filling up ICU units at several hospitals. Statewide, the number of patients being treated in hospital for the coronavirus was at 8,809 Thursday morning, up a record-breaking 491 Floridians from the day before.
Hospitalizations were relatively stable in Miami-Dade County, which was a promising sign for the worst-hit county, but they surged elsewhere including in Tampa’s Hillsborough County, going from 282 to 460 patients in hospital for the coronavirus.
Large numbers of new cases come with increased numbers of tests being reported, so experts look to the share of tests coming back positive as an important metric.
Of the 116,311 test results received by the state yesterday, 15.4% came back positive, its third straight daily decline.
When people who had previously tested positive are removed from the calculation, the share of so-called new cases that came back positive was 12.9%, also on a three-day downward trend.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the situation there has become so dire that he is considering another stay-at-home order and business shutdown. Suarez said at a news conference Thursday he would meet with business leaders before making a decision, possibly Friday.
“It’s important for us to understand the reality of the situation we’re in and the gravity of the decisions in front of us,” Suarez said on Twitter. “We know how impactful a stay at home order could be and we’re doing everything we can to avoid it but this is a public health crisis and lives are at stake.”
Thursday's number of coronavirus deaths pushes the total for Florida during the pandemic to 4,766, the health department reported.
Statewide, more than 2,819,000 people have been tested for COVID-19.
In South Florida, Miami-Dade County's case total rose Thursday by 3,108, to 75,425 and the county's virus-related deaths rose to 1,246.
In Broward County, there were 35,566 COVID-19 cases reported, an increase of 1,413 since Wednesday, along with 464 virus-related deaths.
Palm Beach County had 23,711 cases and 638 deaths reported, while Monroe had 715 cases and six deaths.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and first lady Casey DeSantis appeared at a roundtable event in Tampa Thursday to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on mental health.
DeSantis gave examples of how different demographics have been negatively affected by the pandemic, such as how elderly people in nursing homes have been barred from visits from their families, or how children have been unable to attend school.
"We're going to have to be on multiple fronts on this thing, and the mental health is one that we're going to be dealing with for a very long time," he said.
Also Thursday, Florida’s jobless claims last week nearly doubled to more than 129,000 new applicants compared to the prior week, according to federal figures released Thursday.
The jump came after state officials placed restrictions on the onsite consumption of alcohol in Florida bars in response to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.
“Everything that has been happening in the economy in this cycle has been driven by public health measures,” said Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida.
Unemployed Floridians have filed more than 2.8 million unique jobless claims since mid-March, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
As of Wednesday, more than 1.7 million Floridians have been paid more than $10 billion in unemployment claims.