COVID-19 infections jump to 9,008, with FL poised to hit the 10,000 mark in days; Death toll at 144

Novel coronavirus SARS CoV2, which causes COVID-19. The virus is now creating mutations that are spreading in the United States and elsewhere. Credit: National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Within hours Thursday, COVID-19 infections jumped from 8,010 to 9,008 cases across the state, a difference of about 1,000 infections between morning and early evening.

The rapid rise, in large part due to more testing, will likely mean Florida will hit the 10,000 mark for infections within a matter of days if not one day, if the increase of 998 cases on Thursday replicates Friday’s count.

Overall, 59 of Florida’s 67 counties have at least one infection, according to the Florida Department of Health data. (There’s also an “unknown” category, not a county, that has nine cases.)

Only eight small rural counties are hanging on with zero infections, after at least a dozen of the zero-infection counties fell off the list recently.

The remaining counties with no infections are: Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty and Taylor. This swath of counties are in North Florida, including some in the Panhandle and others hugging the Georgia border.

In the big counties in South Florida, Miami-Dade now has nearly 3,000 infections; Broward has almost 1,500 and Palm Beach, 737. Those three counties have been at the center of the coronavirus pandemic in Florida.

Orange County now has 541 infections, and Hillsborough, 404.

Duval, Lee and Pinellas have just under 300 cases.

Deaths from the COVID-19 respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus also rose, from 128 Thursday morning to 144 by early evening, according to the Florida Department of Health data.

Thursday morning, the department reported that 27 people had died, in Broward, Clay, Dade, Duval, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties, putting the death toll at 128.

Another 16 deaths were reported Thursday evening, in Collier, Dade, Duval, Osceola, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Lucie and Sumter counties, bringing the total death cases to 144.

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.