With thousands of positive test results pouring in every day, Florida topped 200,000 coronavirus cases on Sunday and reached 206,447 cases according to figures released today by the Florida Department of Health. The total in Flagler County is 392, up 90 since last Monday.
Hitting 200,000 cases this weekend would have seemed unlikely — if not unthinkable — a month ago: On June 5, Florida totaled 61,488 cases, after adding another 1,305 positive results that day. Flagler had 195 cases by June 5.
But then came a massive surge that included 10,059 new cases reported Sunday, bringing the overall total to 200,111 cases. That followed 11,458 new cases reported Saturday, 9,488 new cases reported Friday and 10,109 new cases reported Thursday.
In all, Florida added 59,036 cases during the past week. Half of Flagler’s cases and 70 percent of Florida’s have been recorded since Phase 2 reopening.
The death toll as of Sunday: 3,731 Florida residents and 101 non-residents. That reflected an increase of 312 Florida resident deaths during the past week from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. Over the past week, Florida’s seven-day average for deaths rose above 40 for the first time since mid-may.
Amid the surge, Gov. Ron DeSantis has focused on steps the state has taken, such as boosting protections for nursing-home residents, as seniors and people with underlying medical conditions — pretty much the definition of nursing-home residents —are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
DeSantis also has tried to drive home the message that many new infections are occurring in young adults, who are less likely to suffer severe medical consequences.
“It’s been a huge shift. The case growth has really been in that 18- to-34, -35 age group,” DeSantis said during a news conference Thursday with Vice President Mike Pence in Tampa. “Now, those are folks that are by and large going to be much less prone to significant consequences. Nevertheless, with the increasing positivity rate, it’s clear that you’re seeing more and more community transmission really being driven by that age group. And so, if you’re someone in one of the medically vulnerable conditions, or you’re an older person, just understand that that’s out there, continue to be vigilant.”
But Democrats have blasted DeSantis for not taking steps such as requiring face masks to be worn in public places statewide to prevent spread of the disease. Many local governments have required face masks, but DeSantis has declined to issue a statewide mandate or to backtrack from economic reopening efforts that started in May and expanded in June.
“Other governors are beginning to see the danger in a quick reopening, and that a laissez-faire policy approach of distancing and mask requirements, enforced by social obligation, is just not enough,” state Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, said last week, as she called for a statewide mask requirement. “Not only are they seeing the danger in their own states, but also our reckless and fragmented handling of safety here in Florida. Meanwhile, instead of taking steps to reduce transmission, Gov. DeSantis tries to distract from the facts by playing a blame game, accusing various age groups for the spike in new cases.”
Hospital bed capacity in the state today stood at 24 percent, and at 20 percent at AdventHealth Palm Coast. Intensive care bed capacity was at 21 percent statewide and at 11 percent in at AdventHealth Palm Coast.
Florida reached 100,000 cases on June 22, more than three months after the effects of the coronavirus began to be felt in the state.