If COVID-19 infections keep spiking dramatically, FL could reach the 200,000 mark in cases within a week

Drive-through coronavirus screening sites continue to pop up around Florida. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

With big spikes in COVID-19 infections continuing  — including 8,530 new cases on Sunday — Florida could potentially reach the 200,000 mark in cases within a week.

The Florida Department of Health reported 141,075 COVID 19 infections on Sunday, following spikes on average of 9,000 daily throughout the weekend.

The new cases come as a massive effort to test people for the disease that, as of Sunday, has killed 3,419 residents in Florida. Of those deaths, 1,807 were residents or staff in long-term care facilities.

The state health department reported Sunday on test results for more than 72,100 people. Of those tested, 12.40 percent tested positive. In mid-June, the figure was just 5.35 percent.

The spikes in cases have caused Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis to retreat on at least some plans to loosen restrictions for residents and boost Florida’s economy.

As of Friday, bars have been closed based on an emergency order that “suspends the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises for all vendors licensed for such sale who derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises…”

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence dropped campaign events in Florida and Arizona this coming week, according to myriad news accounts.

With the weekend upticks in new COVID-19 cases in Florida, DeSantis scheduled a news conference Sunday afternoon. So far, the governor has not required masks statewide, though several municipalities have ordered mask use.

And despite the increases in infections in Florida, the governor has yet to postpone big events, such as the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville and the Junior Olympics Games this August, and a presidential debate in Miami in the fall.

While at the press conference Sunday, DeSantis didn’t address mandated, statewide masks or postponing big events coming to town.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties continue to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Florida.

The state health department on Sunday reported 33,714 COVID-19 infections; Broward, 14,620, and Palm Beach, 13,389.

However, based on New York Times tracking, Florida is well behind many other states when it comes to the rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

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.