What to Know
- Confirmed cases in the state increased by more than 900 Sunday, to a total of 19,895
- Florida's death toll reached 461, with over 2,600 people hospitalized for COVID-19 to date
- The infections remain concentrated in South Florida, with the epicenter focused on Miami-Dade and Broward counties
Florida’s outbreak of the coronavirus has now infected more than 19,800 people, as the state's death toll rose to 461 Saturday with more fatalities in Miami-Dade and Broward.
Confirmed cases in the state increased by more than 900 Sunday, to 19,895 according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health.
Florida had recorded 461 deaths, with over 2,672 people hospitalized for COVID-19 to date.
The infections remain concentrated in South Florida, with the epicenter focused on Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Miami-Dade cases were at 7,058, about 35 percent of the state's total, with 97 deaths, according to the department.
At a news conference Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the number of deaths in the county was close to 109, and said he didn't know why there was a lag in reporting from the state.
"I think maybe the state has some more processes that they want to make sure it's a COVID-19 case, verify it, and so they're kind of swamped at the department of health," Gimenez said.
Meanwhile, Broward had 2,945 cases, while Palm Beach had 1,646 cases. Monroe County had 59 cases.
On Sunday, state officials announced that the testing criteria for the Hard Rock Stadium site would be expanded to people of all ages - so long as they have symptoms of the virus, or had close contacts with someone who recently tested positive.
Priority was originally given to health care workers, emergency first responders and seniors.
At a news conference on Saturday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said about 1 in 125 Floridians have been tested for COVID-19, and the state was expected to reach 215,000 people tested next week. He added that the state had about 44 percent of hospital beds available as of Friday.
The Florida Department of Emergency Management sent out one of the biggest shipments of supplies in the department’s history on Thursday, DeSantis said. The state of Florida was shipping 2 million surgical masks, 300,000 face shields, more than 50,000 containers of hand sanitizer, 500,000 shoe covers, more than 100,000 gowns and 350,000 gloves. That brings the total supplies sent out by the state to 5.2 million masks, 500,000 face shields, 4.75 million gloves and 275,000 gowns.
The outbreak has forced bars, restaurants and schools to close and has kept much of the state’s population at home as health officials attempted to slow the spread of the virus and asked Floridians to keep their distance from one another.
Social distancing guidelines have forced schools to shutter — and they will remain closed until the end of the month amid uncertainty over when the 2.9 million children who attend public schools can return to their classrooms.
While some states have suspended classes for the rest of the year, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and the governor say they have not yet come to a decision whether they will be following suit.
“If it's safe we want kids to be in school," DeSantis said during his press briefing.
“If we get to a point where people think that we're on the other side of this, and we can get kids back in just for a couple of weeks, we think there would be some value in that," the governor said. "It would be a return to normalcy for a little bit.”