Florida Surpasses 21,600 Coronavirus Cases, More Than 570 Deaths

Florida's estimated COVID-19 peak moved from April to May

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What to Know

  • Florida has more than 21,600 coronavirus cases, with nearly 11,000 in Miami-Dade and Broward
  • The COVID-19-related death toll in Miami-Dade reached 143
  • The latest estimate from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation moved Florida's COVID-19 peak back, from April to early May

Florida's coronavirus-related death toll jumped to 571 as the total number of confirmed cases in the state surpassed 21,600 Tuesday.

Total COVID-19 cases in the state were at 21,628 Tuesday, about 600 more since Monday, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Miami-Dade County's coronavirus-related death toll rose to 143, 34 more than were reported Monday. Broward County's death toll rose to 81, Palm Beach had 103 reported deaths related to the virus, and Monroe County had 3.

Miami-Dade accounted for 7,712 cases, about 36 percent of the state's total. There were 3,261 cases in Broward and 1,740 cases in Palm Beach, with another 64 in Monroe.

The city of Miami remained the state's epicenter, with 4,648 cases. Hollywood was the next closest, with 962, followed by Hialeah with 955.

The state has tested more than 206,000 people for COVID-19. More than 3,000 people have been hospitalized for coronavirus in Florida to date.

Dr. Scott Rivkees, Florida's surgeon general, said Monday that the disease's expansion may have hit a plateau with about 11% of tests coming back positive daily for the past week with the number of patients hospitalized and in intensive care seeming to be stabilizing.

Still, Rivkees said he expects social distancing guidelines such as keeping gatherings to 10 or less, staying six feet apart and wearing masks in public to be in place until a vaccine is created, which could take a year.

"We are at a plateau situation but I cannot emphasize enough that we cannot let our guard down at this present time. Until we get a vaccine, which is a while off, this is going to be our new normal and we need to adapt and protect ourselves," Rivkees said.

The latest estimate from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation moved Florida's COVID-19 peak back, from April to early May.

The estimate released Monday put the state's peak date for hospital resources as May 3 and peak date for coronavirus-related deaths at May 6, when Florida was expected to reach 128 deaths for the day.

The peak had been moved down to April 21 last week, but the numbers are just estimates and include wide margins of uncertainty, so the the peak dates and numbers will likely continue to change.

Monday's estimate did have a bright spot. It predicts no shortage of hospital beds in Florida on the May 3 peak.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday the state will more aggressively inspect nursing homes to detect patients and staff who are infected with the coronavirus.

DeSantis said he has ordered the Florida National Guard to create 10 teams that will visit long-term care facilities to test employees and residents for the virus, with a focus on hard-hit Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. They will supplement 30 paramedics who have already been conducting such tests.

DeSantis said the virus has caused known infections at 94 of the state's 4,000 homes.

NBC 6 and AP
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