ORLANDO, Fla. – The latest figures provided by the Florida Department of Health show that the state quickly surpassed 400 cases Thursday of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19.
As of 6 p.m. Thursday, there were 393 Floridians who tested positive for COVID-19 -- six of whom are being isolated out of state -- plus 39 non-Florida residents who were diagnosed while visiting the Sunshine State.
The total number of 432 Florida-related cases includes nine deaths and those who tested positive but have since recovered from the respiratory illness.
At about 11 a.m., the last time the state provided an update on Thursday, the total number of cases was 360.
By 6 p.m., one more person had died to coronavirus-related complications, bringing Florida’s death total to nine people.
The numbers are updated at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The cases of COVID-19 in Florida and around the U.S. are expected to rise. Beginning this week U.S. cases saw an major increase spiking from 500 to more than 1,000 cases in less than 48 hours, according to a new CDC report.
Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the president’s coronavirus task force, pointed out Wednesday afternoon that labs are working through a backlog of tests that are now being processed at a higher rate, meaning that the country will likely see an increase in positive cases in the coming days.
“There were individuals who had been tested who hadn’t had their specimen run because of the slow throughput. It’s now in a high-speed platform. So we will see the number of people diagnosed dramatically increase over the next four to five days. I know some of you will use that to raise an alarm that we are worse than Italy because of our slope of our curve,” Birx said. “To every American out there, it will be five to six days’ worth of tests being run in 24 to 48 hours. So our curves will not be stable until sometime next week.”
Currently, there are two cases in Brevard, two in Lake, 15 in Orange, nine in Osceola, two in Polk, eight in Seminole, one in Sumter and nine in Volusia. There are no COVID-19 patients in Flagler or Marion counties.
The highly contagious respiratory illness first appeared in Florida on March 1. Every day since then, the number of cases has continued to rise.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said his main priorities to stop the spread of the deadly virus are to increase testing capabilities and secure more personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, for medical personnel and first responders.
Social distancing is also a must. The governor has ordered that all bars and nightclubs shut their doors for 30 days and restaurants reduce their capacity to 50%.