ORLANDO, Fla. – A day after Florida reported a large increase of coronavirus cases due to a laboratory testing dump, the state reported 6,236 new cases, putting Florida on track for reporting under 7,000 cases per day this week, outside of Wednesday’s blip.
With the new cases reported by the Florida Department of Health Thursday, Florida’s total number of confirmed cases is now 557,137 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 9.52% out of more than 78,200 people tested.
The positivity rate has increased this week, however, with Wednesday’s increase was 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.
Many people who test positive for COVID-19 will have mild or no symptoms at all, which is why it is important to monitor hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the virus.
On Thursday, the state added 149 new fatalities, bringing Florida’s death toll from the virus up to 9,047. That number includes 8,913 residents and 134 non-residents who died in Florida. New COVID-19 deaths are often delayed in reporting to the state DOH and those new deaths could have occurred within the past few weeks.
As of Thursday morning, there were 6,322 patients currently hospitalized with coronavirus in Florida, according to the state Agency for Healthcare Administration. The Florida Department of Health reported 590 new hospitalizations on Thursday, bringing the overall total to 32,537 since March.
Here are three things to know about coronavirus in Central Florida and across the U.S. for Thursday:
- Disney opens virus testing site: A COVID-19 testing site opened Thursday at the Maingate Complex at Walt Disney World, offering free tests to employees and their family members, and soon the community at large and on Friday the site opens to the general public, but there will be a dedicated lane for Disney cast members, officials said. Read more about how to make an appointment here.
- Economic relief on hold: Negotiations over a new virus relief package have all but ended, with the White House and congressional leaders far apart on the size, scope and approach for shoring up households, re-opening schools and launching a national strategy to contain the virus. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, tried to revive stalled talks Wednesday, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer dismissed the “overture,” saying the Trump administration is still refusing to meet them halfway. Congressional Republicans are largely sitting out the talks. Find out what this means for you.
- Neck gaiters aren’t helping: A new study from Duke University found that the neck gaiter they tested was “worse than nothing.” Neck gaiters are made of a circular piece of fabric that sits around a person’s neck. It can then be pulled up to cover a person’s mouth and nose. The co-author of the study said neck gaiters appeared to make large droplets into small droplets. COVID-19 is carried through droplets that come from the nose and mouth. Read more about the study here.
Across the Central Florida region, Brevard, Lake, Marion, Orange, Polk and Seminole counties all reported new deaths.
Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases across Central Florida as of Aug. 13:
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