Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed 708 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total of confirmed cases to 32,846. There were 83 new deaths announced — the highest reported on a single day — bringing the statewide death toll to 1,171.
The 83 new deaths are the most the state has announced in one day since April 14, when 72 deaths were reported.
Of the deaths announced Tuesday, 44 were in South Florida, according to the state’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.
Twenty-two people died in Miami-Dade, pushing the county’s death toll up to 324. Five people died Broward, bringing the county’s death count to 179. Palm Beach County reported 17 additional deaths, raising the county’s death toll to 173.
Besides the high death toll, Tuesday’s number of new cases is also the highest the state has seen in the past three days. Saturday was the lowest, when the state reported a total of 306 new cases and nine deaths — a steep decline of new daily cases and deaths not seen since late March, likely caused by the Florida Department of Health changing its system of providing updates on new COVID-19 cases from twice a day to one. Sunday and Monday had cases in the 600s.
Tuesday’s numbers of new confirmed cases is lower than the daily total number of cases reported during the first half of April, when most days ended with a total of more than 1,000 new cases. Local and state officials have previously said that the change in the number of daily reported cases is a sign that statewide social distancing measures are working.
Where are most of the COVID-19 cases in Florida?
Of the statewide total of confirmed cases, 31,986 are Florida residents and 860 are non-residents who were diagnosed or isolated in the state. Compared to Monday, Tuesday saw 98 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 69 additional deaths reported.
South Florida — Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties — continues to be one of the most hard-hit areas in the state and makes up more than half of the statewide COVID-19 cases, with a total of 19,633 confirmed cases.
Miami-Dade County also continues to have the highest number of known cases and deaths in the state. It has a total of 11,831 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Despite the daily reports of new cases and deaths, social distancing measures have begun to ease across Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state’s coronavirus curve has flattened and he is looking to slowly reopen the state’s economy.
On Wednesday Miami-Dade’s six-week shutdown order for parks and recreational facilities, excluding beaches, will officially end and allow residents to participate in limited recreational activities. Parks and recreational facilities in the city of Miami remain closed.
Unlike in Miami-Dade, some Key West beaches are opening this week, but only for residents.. Two highway checkpoints are still in place in the Upper Keys to keep tourists and visitors out.
The Florida Keys, which have the fewest number of known COVID-19 cases in South Florida, did not report any additional confirmed cases of the disease on Tuesday. Instead, health officials decreased the number of confirmed cases from 79 to 78 after a contract tracing investigation determined that a person who fell ill with COVID-19 was not a Monroe County resident and did not have any connection to the Florida Keys.
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COVID-19 Testing in Florida
The state has done a total of 366,875 COVID-19 tests. Of those tests, 32,846 or 8.9 percent came back positive. The state says 334,029 tests came back negative. Information about Tuesday’s pending tests was not immediately available. On Monday, the state said it had 1,099 pending tests.
But health experts told the Miami Herald earlier this month they were concerned the number of pending COVID-19 tests listed by the state is an undercount because Florida reports only the number of Floridians waiting to get test results from state labs, not private ones — and private labs are completing more than 90% of state tests.
Previously, the result of pending tests from private labs have taken as long as two weeks to be added to the state’s official count, making it difficult for officials to project the size and scale of the pandemic in the state. It’s unclear how quickly results are currently being sent to the state from private labs.
Health officials say the state has also had 5,222 hospitalizations relating to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The statewide and county-level data for COVID-19 hospitalizations include anyone who was hospitalized during their illness and “does not reflect the number of people currently hospitalized,” according to the Department of Health.
The state says it does not “have a figure” to reflect current hospitalization data.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida
As of Tuesday morning, here’s what Florida’s Department of Health data shows:
Miami-Dade County saw 128 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising the county total to 11,831. Those who have fallen ill range from the age of 0 to 105. (Those listed as age zero are less than 1). Health officials say 11,703 are residents, 127 are non-residents and one is a resident who is not in Florida. The county has had 1,373 hospitalizations and 324 deaths, Florida’s highest death toll.
Broward County reported 53 additional confirmed cases of the disease, raising the county total to 4,847. Those who have fallen ill range from the age of 0 to 102. Health officials say 4,720 are residents and 127 are non-residents. The county has had 179 deaths and 954 hospitalizations.
Palm Beach County had 114 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising the county total to 2,877. Those who have fallen ill range from the age of 0 to 104. Health officials say 2,816 are residents, 59 are non-residents and two are residents who are not in Florida. The county has had 423 hospitalizations and 173 deaths.
Monroe County did not report any additional confirmed case of the disease. The county’s total is 78. Those who have fallen ill range from the age of 6 to 80. Health officials say eight are non-residents. The Florida Keys has had three deaths and 11 hospitalizations.
Miami Herald and FLKeysNews..com staff writer David Goodhue contributed to this report.