Florida health officials reported more than 9,500 new COVID-19 cases, surpassing the previous day’s total by more than 600 confirmed cases. The figures come as officials move to reclose beaches and discourage bar gatherings.
Experts say the true figure is undoubtedly higher. This is both because of incomplete testing and because it is becoming clearer to scientists that a significant number of people become infected with the virus but do not feel sick or show symptoms.
The state’s Department of Health said 24 more people have died with COVID-19, raising the death toll to 3,390.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 also are ticking upward statewide. Although they are not rising as dramatically as the reported number of cases, they are approaching the levels of new admissions seen in April and May. New hospitalizations this week have been between about 160 and 170 per day, according to figures compiled by covidtracking.com.
Miami-Dade County announced late Friday it would reclose beaches from July 3 to July 7 to prevent large gatherings and the spread of the new virus during Fourth of July celebrations in the state’s hardest hit area.
Earlier Friday, state officials said they would ban alcohol consumptions at bars as health officials attribute the new outbreak to young adults flocking to establishments after reopening three weeks ago.
“The patients who are being admitted are younger than what we were seeing before, less ill than in the first weeks, but still sick enough to be hospitalized,” said Kathleen Sposato, senior director of infection prevention at Jackson Health System, which oversees one of Florida’s largest hospitals in Miami.
Sposato said they are also seeing people arriving at the hospital for non-COVID-19 care but who end up testing positive, including pregnant women in labor. Some hospitals in Miami-Dade have had to transfer patients to other facilities in the network as their bed availability diminishes.
“I think we are seeing an increase in the use of our health care system,” she said. “COVID-19 is almost becoming endemic in the community.”
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