Florida approaches 9,000 coronavirus deaths, backlog of tests causes jump in case count, state says

213 new deaths reported on Wednesday

Healthcare workers walk to a tent, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, at a COVID-19 testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. State officials say Florida has surpassed 500,000 coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, testing is ramping up following a temporary shutdown of some sites because of Tropical Storm Isaias. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – In less than 24 hours, Florida will likely surpass a death toll of 9,000 from the coronavirus, which was first detected in the state less than six months ago.

The Florida Department of Health reported 8,109 new positive cases on Wednesday, bringing Florida’s total number of confirmed cases to 550,901 since the pandemic first arrived more than five months ago. The positivity rate, which represents the number of people who tested positive for the first time compared to the overall number of tests reported by the DOH for the day prior, was 11.89% out of more than 81,000 people tested.

The positivity rate has increased over the past four days, however, Wednesday’s increase is due to a backlog of testing data being submitted to the state, according to the DOH. Health officials agree the rate should be under 10% to show cases are declining.

Florida Department of Health officials said about half of the new cases were from a backlog of testing data from Niznik Lab Corp in Miami. Some of those tests date back to June 23 but had not been reported to the state until Wednesday.

“Therefore, this backlog severely skews today’s daily report for Miami-Dade and is not reflective of current trends,” the DOH said in an email. “Once DOH was informed of this testing data backlog, we immediately reached out to Niznik Lab and we are investigating the matter, along with Miami-Dade leadership.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) tweeted about the increase in cases and the Miami-area laboratory turning in weeks of tests in one day.

“Was informed that the jump in today’s #COVID19 cases & positivity rate in #MiamiDade #Florida is due to a single lab dumping up to 2 1/2 weeks worth of test results in one release. They say many of these positives are up to 10 to 18 days old,” Rubio said in a tweet.

According to the Miami-Dade testing numbers in the state report, the county reported 4,104 cases Wednesday. The county had been reporting less than 2,000 new cases for about a week now.

If you are having trouble viewing the dashboard above on mobile, click here.

While the number of cases continues to grow, many people who test positive for COVID-19 will have mild or no symptoms at all, therefore it is important to monitor hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the virus.

On Wednesday, the state added 213 new fatalities, bringing Florida’s death toll from the virus up to 8,898. That number includes 8,765 residents and 133 non-residents who died in Florida.

This does not mean 213 people necessarily died in one day but during the last several weeks, as new COVID-19 deaths are often delayed in reporting to the state DOH.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 6,559 patients currently hospitalized with coronavirus in Florida, according to the state Agency for Healthcare Administration. The Florida Department of Health reported 593 new hospitalizations on Wednesday, bringing the overall total to 31,947 since March.

Across the Central Florida region, Brevard, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties all reported new deaths.

Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases across Central Florida as of Aug. 12:

CountyCase totalNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeaths

Editor’s note: The numbers and data referenced in this story are publicly available on the Florida Department of Health website here and on the AHCA dashboard here.

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