Florida reports largest, single-day increase in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

CLEARWATER, FL – MARCH 18: People gather on Clearwater Beach during spring break despite world health officials’ warnings to avoid large groups on March 18, 2020 in Clearwater, Florida. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP/KCAU) — Florida shattered the national record Sunday for the largest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases in any state since the beginning of the pandemic, adding 15,299 cases as its daily average death toll continued to also rise.

California set the previous one-day record on Wednesday with 11,694 cases.  New York had 11,571 on April 15.

The numbers come at the end of a grim, record-breaking week as Florida reported 514 fatalities — an average of 73 per day. Three weeks ago, the state was averaging 30 deaths per day. Since the pandemic began in March, 4,346 people have died in Florida of COVID-19, the state says.

Testing has doubled over the last month, going from about 25,000 tests per day to almost 50,000, but the percentage of people testing positive has risen even more dramatically. A month ago, fewer than 5% of tests came up positive on a daily average. Over the past week, the daily average exceeded 19%.

FILE – Cars wait in line at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium, in a Wednesday, July 8, 2020, file photo, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida on Sunday, July 13, 2020 reported the largest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases in any one state since the beginning of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

“I still think we need to increase our testing a little bit more,” said University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Prins, adding that the state and local health departments should ramp up their contact tracing.

Prins said that she’s still concerned about large crowds, gyms and some restaurants as being places of mass transmission. Reports of illegal clubs and raves in South Florida are also a worry, she said.

“I really do think we could control this, and it’s the human element that is so critical. It should be an effort of our country. We should be pulling together when we’re in a crisis, and we’re definitely not doing it,” Prins added. “I know people want to live their lives. There have been a lot of other times, people have made those sacrifices in order to benefit our society. It’s almost like a war effort. That’s what we need right now.”

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