COVID-19 infections closing in on 65,000; death toll at 2,712

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

COVID-19 infections have spiked to 64,094 in Florida, the state Department of Health reported Monday, up from 966 infections the day before.

The newest numbers show that Miami-Dade County is inching closer to 20,000 infections — 19,756 to be exact — the largest number of all 67 counties.

From June 3 to June 7, the coronavirus infections spiked daily by about 1200 to 1400 cases, the state data show. During that time, Gov. Ron DeSantis was launching Florida’s Phase 2 plan to reopen bars, movie theaters, entertainment venues and more — subject to certain limits, social distancing and safety rules.

Monday was the first time that infections rose by less than 1,000 cases.

The governor excluded the big southeast counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach in the Phase 2 plan — they have the highest caseloads in the state.

As of Monday, the state health department reported Broward County at 7,924 infections and 7,329 for Palm Beach County.

The other top 10 counties with the largest number of infections are: Hillsborough, 2,861; Orange, 2,378; Lee, 2,315; Collier, 2,070, Duval, 1,806; Pinellas, 1,638 and Manatee, 1,219.

Ten small and rural counties often in north Florida have fewer than 50 COVID-19 infections, according to the state data.

The state also tracks the number of deaths in long-term care facilities. As of Monday, 1,395 residents or staffers died — 51.4 percent of the 2,712 COVID-19 deaths in Florida, according to the state health department.

Update: DeSantis, during a news conference in Miami Monday, attributed the spike to mostly to increased testing of Florida residents.

“I said when we reopened, we’re going to double testing, people are going to say, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s more cases!’” he said.

He added that the state’s seeing outbreaks in agricultural communities where workers live in close proximity. “A lot of these people are 30-, 40-, 20-years old,” he said, and therefore at less risk of severe symptoms. “Clinical consequences are very low of that.”

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.