Florida reported its biggest single-day increase in new cases since the state began releasing its reports once a day on April 25.
New cases rose to 73,552 on Saturday, up 3.6% from a day earlier and well above the average increase of 2.1% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 2,925, a 1.7% increase.
As recently as Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis downplayed concerns about the rising totals, saying it was a reflection of increased testing and isolated outbreaks in long-term care facilities, prisons and agriculture communities.
Florida has one of the country’s biggest 65-and-over populations and it’s fared surprisingly well so far. But the rising numbers are raising concerns about DeSantis’s efforts to reopen the economy, which started May 4. At this point, most businesses are back in operation, including bars, retailers and even some theme parks.
The new positivity rate — people testing positive for the first time among overall tests in a day — was 6.28% on Friday, the fourth straight day at or above 5%. Prior to that, it had topped 5% just twice over the last four weeks.
Hospitalizations rose by 168, pushing the total who have been hospitalized to 11,874 since the crisis began. Seen on a seven-day rolling basis, they’d been on a steady decline until this week when they began to rise again, though slightly.