Florida coronavirus: State sees record spike in cases 2 days in a row

Investigations

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Coronavirus numbers are headed in the wrong direction in Florida. The Sunshine State on Friday logged another big spike in cases, setting a new daily record for the second time this week.

8 On Your Side is now digging into what the spike means.

New numbers released by state health officials show Florida has a total of 70,971 cases as of Friday. That’s 1,902 more than the number of cases reported Thursday.

Florida has seen an increase of over 1,000 cases of coronavirus in nine of the last 10 days.

Experts no longer believe the spike is purely caused by an increase in testing.

“There’s also an increasing number of cases beyond just the increasing number of tests that we’re running,” said Dr. John Greene.

Dr. Greene is the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Moffitt. He’s been tracking multiple indicators to understand why Florida’s cases are soaring in recent days.

“Hospitalization rates which had been going down seem to be now increasing,” said Dr. Greene.

More people are also heading to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms, according to Dr. Greene.

“It quite possibly could be coronavirus?” Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi asked.

“Exactly, because we’re not in the flu season,” said Dr. Greene. “Those are sort of early warnings before testing starts to show…what’s happening in your emergency rooms.”

There’s no current plans to press pause in the sunshine state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said hospitalizations have decreased in parts of Florida.

“Duval County – where they’re going to have the Republican National Committee – Memorial Day weekend to the present, COVID hospitalizations are down 50 percent,” DeSantis said at a news conference on Friday.

The governor still attributes the spike to an increase in testing. He says the state has targeted sites of outbreaks.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Kimberly Overman, who represents the 7th District in Hillsborough County, tells 8 On Your Side she believes the spike is connected to the reopening of the state.

Thus far, there’s no calls to bring back the lock down.

Florida has never even gotten close to reaching hospital capacity.

Experts are closely watching the numbers in the coming days.

If you have a tip for investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi, send her an email: MSaeidi@WFLA.com

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