SEBRING — Just one day after burying its previous four-digit single-day coronavirus case increases, Florida has blown by that record, again, with an almost five-digit increase.
Added to that, cases worldwide topped 10 million by 51 cases on Saturday, with a global death toll approaching half a million at 498,952.
Florida added 9,585 cases from Friday to Saturday, for a total of 132,545 cases, up from Friday’s case total of 122,960, with a total of 3,489 deaths statewide, up from Friday’s toll of 3,464.
Only 2,453 of Florida’s cases are non-residents. All the rest live here.
Highlands County, according to the Florida Department of Health, saw an 89-person jump from 284 cases to now have 373 total cases, three of them non-residents, for a total positive-case rate of 4.7% for all of those tested.
The positive rate for test results that came in Friday was 11.2% out of 801 tests performed.
The county has seen 57 hospitalizations, or 15% of all cases, and 11 deaths, just 3% of cases.
County officials are disputing the 89-case one-day jump, according to posts from the county’s social media.
“We have been working with the Department of Health because some of those cases are not Highlands County cases,” the post stated. “However, although we do not have the exact number, we do know that Highlands County did hit a record new high of positive cases today.”
Gloria Rybinski, public information officer, said it is more like a range of 25-30 new cases, based on information she’s received.
County officials hope some of Saturday’s Highlands cases will get moved to other counties on Sunday. County officials are looking at that date, Rybinski said, based on the fact that there has been no word of a pending special update to the Health Department’s online COVID-19 dashboard.
Residents have sent letters to the county asking for a local mandate to wear face masks, but no special meetings have been called as of yet, Rybinski said.
County officials have asked residents to please follow CDC guidelines of wearing a cloth face covering, practicing physical distancing in public and wash hands often.
The Center for Disease Control has added three new symptoms of COVID-19: Congestion or runny nose, nausea and diarrhea.
Halsey Beshears, secretary of the state’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation, made a surprise announcement via Twitter on Friday that effective that day, consumption of alcohol at bars statewide was suspended. Since then, officials in some coastal communities have instituted mandatory face covering ordinances.
In other places, including Miami-Dade County, which saw a four-digit jump of 1,366 cases to 31,562 total, with 947 deaths, officials have announced that beaches would be closed for the July 4 weekend.
Hillsborough County also had a four-digit jump of 1,112 cases overnight, raising the running total to 9,130 cases and 132 deaths. There is no word yet on their beaches for next weekend.
Highlands County’s first positive case was reported on March 21.
The total number of tests administered in Highlands County to date is 7,961 with 7,582 negative tests results. Seven are still awaiting results.
Of the 373 positive cases reported Saturday for Highlands County, 370 would be residents versus three non-residents. The case numbers include 204 male and 165 females, ranging from ages 0 to 91, with a median age of 44.
Florida, meanwhile, has had quadruple digit increases for 24 consecutive days, starting June 3. Of the statewide cases, 2,453 are non-Florida residents. The state saw 25 additional deaths between Friday and Saturday.
The Health Department has released details of ethnicity and race regarding the positive cases in each of the state’s 67 counties.
Highlands County’s cases by ethnicity are 108 Hispanic, 172 non-Hispanic and 110 unknown/no data. The cases by race are 186 white, 56 black, 48 other and 80 unknown/no data.
Several residents commute to surrounding counties. Just to the north, in Polk County, where there is a higher population, the total reached 3,182 positive cases with 459 hospitalizations and 92 deaths. Polk has also administered 42,853 tests, of which 39,653 have been negative.
DeSoto (574) and Hardee (403) counties have surpassed Highlands County in positive cases while Highlands still has more cases than Glades (158) and Okeechobee (333). Okeechobee still has no deaths, Hardee has had three; DeSoto County has had 10 deaths and Glades still has only had one.
There are many variables that could affect the numbers such as population and testing availability.
Seventeen counties saw triple digit increases overnight: Brevard had 250, Broward had 726, Collier had 188, Duval had 677, Lake had 123, Lee had 199, Manatee 274, Orange had 989, Osceola had 164, Palm Beach had 430, Pasco had 304, Pinellas had 614, Polk had 402, Seminole had 236, St. Lucie had 135 and Volusia had 140.
Testing for the virus can be done at the Highlands County Health Department on Mondays and Fridays for those who are showing symptoms. Call 863-382-7260 to make an appointment. Testing is also being done at Central Florida Health Department, but again, appointments are required.
For more information on COVID-19, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov.
In Highlands County, call 863-402-6800 or text hccovid to 888777.