Florida reports almost 9,000 new infections, breaking record

A couple sits on the intracoastal waterway as sun seekers return to the beach during a gradual reopening of measures taken to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in St. Pete Beach, Florida, USA. USA, May 4, 2020.

Steve Nesius | REUTERS

The Florida Department of Health reported 8,942 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, breaking the record single-day peak of 5,508 reported on Wednesday.

The coronavirus has now infected 122,960 people in Florida and has killed at least 3,327 people, according to the state health department.

The latest surge comes amid a surge in many states, primarily the South and West, which has led some officials to delay and even reverse reopening efforts. Cases have increased by the thousands in Florida in the past few days.

When asked about Florida’s reopening Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis said the state has no plans to continue its reopening step by step. He added that the state “never anticipated” will continue to make progress on this point.

“We are where we are. I did not say we were going to go to the next phase,” said the Republican governor.

His comments come shortly after Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he would pause to reopen plans for his state as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. On Friday, Abbott rolled back some of the state’s reopening plans.

Florida averaged 4,013 new cases daily as of Thursday, representing a 67% increase compared to the seven-day average a week ago, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. DeSantis has allowed retailers, restaurants, gyms and personal care services to reopen to a reduced capacity.

Florida was one of the first states to reopen, and DeSantis allowed most restaurants and stores to open with limited capacity on May 4. The heavily populated Miami-Dade and Broward counties did not reopen until May 18. On June 5, most of the state moved deeper into the reopening, allowing more stores to resume operations, as well as gyms and some stores operating at full capacity.

Last week, DeSantis said the state would not implement further restrictions again.

“We are not closing. We are going to keep going,” said the governor. “You have to have the function of society.”

The latest increase also increased the positivity rate of the state tests, or the percentage of all tests that tested positive. The Florida Department of Health reported Friday that 13.05% of all tests tested positive, compared to 8.92% reported Thursday.

While Florida does not report hospitalization data statewide, some parts of the state have seen hospitalizations increase.

“All options have to be on the table. When we see our hospitalizations go up, our ICU beds go up, our fans go up. Still with enough capacity, but going up. It is worrying,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told CNN. on Friday, when asked if he would consider instituting another stay-at-home order. He said there are some hospitals in Miami-Dade County that are approaching capacity.

On Thursday, the city of Miami issued a mandate requiring that facials be covered in public at all times until further notice. Those who defy the order could be fined $ 50 and face court appearances for repeated offenses.