A rapid rise in COVID-19 infections — now at 11,545 — and 195 deaths in about half of FL’s counties

Novel coronavirus SARS CoV2, which causes COVID-19. Microphotography by National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases

When COVID-19 infections for the first time reached the 10,000 mark Friday evening, the increases didn’t stop: Within 24 hours, a rapid rise in cases put the total at 11,545 by Saturday evening.

That means 1,277 more infections were reported between Friday and Saturday evenings, according to Florida Department of Health data.

The same jump occurred between Thursday evening and Friday evening, with 1,260 more infections in that time span.

If those kind of increases continue — meaning around 1,200 new cases every 24 hours — Florida could be at 20,000 infections in about a week.

The increases have been fueled by more testing, particularly in commercial and hospital labs rather than public health departments.

The COVID-19 infections are caused by the new coronavirus that has expanded across the globe.

Overall, 62 of 67 counties in Florida have at least one infection and there’s only five counties left that have zero infections: Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Liberty and Taylor in north Florida.

(The state has an “unknown” category that is not a county but has 10 cases.)

As of Saturday evening, Miami-Dade was closing in on 4,000 infections, and Broward, about 1800. Palm Beach is close to reaching 1,000 cases. The three counties in South Florida have been the center of the coronavirus pandemic in Florida.

Saturday evening’s numbers also reflect a rise in death cases, now at 195. Those same three counties continue to have the most deaths. Palm Beach has 35; Broward, 33 and Dade, 31.

Lee has 11; Duval,; 9, Orange; 8, Pinellas and Sarasota, 7; Clay has 6 and Hillsborough, 5. The rest of the counties have fewer than 5 deaths.

Overall, 32 counties — about half the counties in Florida — have at least one death. That average age of the death cases is 76, according to the health department data. About 62 percent of the deaths are males.

The other counties with at least one death are: Bay, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Escambia, Flagler, Highlands, Lake, Manatee, Monroe, Okaloosa,  Osceola, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia.

You can go on the Florida Department of Health’s website to look at COVID-19 data. It’s called the COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

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.