MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The COVID-19 outbreak continued its fevered escalation in Florida on Saturday, as the state reported more than 4,000 new cases — the highest daily total yet in a state that has seen numerous record-breaking spikes since reopening restaurants, bars, gyms and other public places.
The Florida Health Department also reported 40 more people have died from COVID-19, bringing the state’s tally to more than 3,140.
Watch Governor DeSantis’ Saturday press conference:
Since the outbreak began earlier this year, nearly 94,000 Floridians have tested positive for the virus. The state said new test results were reported for 34,400 people Friday and showed an infection rate of more than 12% — a clear indication of the the widened public spread of the disease.
The seven-day averages of positivity rates has tripled from about 4% a week ago.
The new record comes just a day after the previous record was set, when the state announced more than 3,800 additional confirmed cases.
During a new conference on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis attributed the rising numbers to the increase in testing and infections among asymptomatic younger people.
He also suggested, though without any immediate proof, that recent mass gatherings to protest police brutality against Blacks, including the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, might be contributing to the rise in infections. He acknowledged that complacency might be a factor as Floridians fail to heed social distancing measures as they begin resuming their daily lives.
Young people in particular have been among the most persistent offenders, DeSantis suggested. Over the weeks, the median age of people testing positive has been declining.
The state has allowed bars, restaurants and some theme parks to reopen, and since then cases have spiked.
With the rise in infections, hospitalizations have also increased, but at a much slower rate, state health officials said. But there are no shortage of beds for those who need treatment.
While the governor has resisted calls to pull back from his push to reopen the state’s economy, some of Florida’s largest cities have slowed their plans to reopen.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)