TAMPA. Fla. – Florida has shattered its previous record for the number of coronavirus cases recorded in a day, according to data released Thursday.
The numbers released by state health officials show a 3,207 case increase, bringing the total positive cases 85,926. The death count increased by 43, bringing the state’s death toll to 3,061.
Hospitalizations reached 12,577 on Thursday – 188 more than were reported the previous day.
“The potential for the virus to take off there is very, very nerve-racking and could have catastrophic consequences” because of the state’s aging population and the prevalence of nursing homes and retirement communities, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told CNN on Thursday.
Florida has seen an increase of over 1,000 COVID-19 cases in 15 of the last 16 days. The first 2,000-plus case count was Saturday and was the highest spike the state had seen until Thursday.
Despite that spike, Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state will not be shutting down again. He says the recent increase can be attributed to increased testing. But the rate of positive tests also has been ticking upward in recent days, raising alarm.
The state’s cumulative percent positive stands at 5.7%. A total of 1,512,315 people have been tested. Of those tests, 85,926 have been positive.
The percent positivity for new cases – the number of people who tested positive for the first time divided by all the people tested that day – was 8.8% on Wednesday. The total percent positive of all tests – including people who have been tested on multiple days was 10.7%.
The United States has eclipsed 2.1 million cases of the virus, with over 117,000 deaths. In total, the world has seen over 8.3 million cases, with over 449,000 deaths.
Florida isn’t the only beach destination seeing higher case numbers. A spike in cases in West Virginia has been linked to people who recently traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.