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Florida Tops 206,000 COVID-19 Cases


Florida’s COVID-19 cases have raced passed 200,000 with thousands of positive test results pouring in every day.

The Florida Department of Health reported 206,447 total coronavirus cases and 3,880 deaths at the time of this story’s publication on Monday morning.

In Duval County there were 9,366 total cases and 68 deaths.

Hitting 200,000 cases would have seemed unlikely - if not unthinkable - a month ago: On June 5, Florida totaled 61,488 cases, after adding another 1,305 positive results that day.

But then came a massive surge that included 10,059 new cases reported Sunday, bringing the overall total to 200,111 cases. That followed 11,458 new cases reported Saturday, 9,488 new cases reported Friday and 10,109 new cases reported Thursday.

In all, Florida added 59,036 cases during the past week.

The death toll as of Monday: 3,778 Florida residents and 102 non-residents. That reflected an increase of 312 Florida resident deaths during the past week from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

Amid the surge, Gov. Ron DeSantis has focused on steps the state has taken, such as boosting protections for nursing-home residents, as seniors and people with underlying medical conditions --- pretty much the definition of nursing-home residents ---are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

DeSantis also has tried to drive home the message that many new infections are occurring in young adults, who are less likely to suffer severe medical consequences.

“It’s been a huge shift. The case growth has really been in that 18- to-34, -35 age group,” DeSantis said during a news conference Thursday with Vice President Mike Pence in Tampa. “Now, those are folks that are by and large going to be much less prone to significant consequences. Nevertheless, with the increasing positivity rate, it’s clear that you’re seeing more and more community transmission really being driven by that age group. And so, if you’re someone in one of the medically vulnerable conditions, or you’re an older person, just understand that that’s out there, continue to be vigilant.”

But Democrats have blasted DeSantis for not taking steps such as requiring face masks to be worn in public places statewide to prevent spread of the disease. Many local governments have required face masks, but DeSantis has declined to issue a statewide mandate or to backtrack from economic reopening efforts that started in May and expanded in June.

“Other governors are beginning to see the danger in a quick reopening, and that a laissez-faire policy approach of distancing and mask requirements, enforced by social obligation, is just not enough,” state Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, said last week, as she called for a statewide mask requirement. “Not only are they seeing the danger in their own states, but also our reckless and fragmented handling of safety here in Florida. Meanwhile, instead of taking steps to reduce transmission, Gov. DeSantis tries to distract from the facts by playing a blame game, accusing various age groups for the spike in new cases.”

Florida reached 100,000 cases on June 22, more than three months after the effects of the coronavirus began to be felt in the state. Florida added the next 100,000 cases in less than two weeks.

- WJCT's Bill Bortzfield contributed to this story.