Miami, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- After two consecutive days of setting new records for newly detected coronavirus infections, the daily number of cases confirmed within the past 24 hours in Florida on Sunday dropped by 1,055 from Saturday’s total, although the reduction is not being felt in Miami-Dade County, the epicenter of the pandemic in the Sunshine State, where the tally continues to rise with no letup.
With 8,530 new cases within the past 24 hours reported on Sunday, Florida has officially registered 141,075 virus cases since March 1, failing as yet to “flatten the curve” and now it is one of the hotspots for the pandemic in the US, along with Texas, Nevada, California and Arizona, among other states in the South and West.
The daily infection record was set on Saturday at 9,585 confirmed cases.
Over the past 24 hours, 29 people died as a result of Covid-19 and the death toll now stands at 3,419, according to the state’s health department.
In the almost four months since the pandemic arrived in Florida, a total of 1,833,244 Covid-19 tests have been performed – albeit presumably with some people being tested multiple times – and the positive response rate overall stands at 7.5 percent, 0.3 percent higher than the rate as of Saturday.
In Miami-Dade County, the positive response rate is about 20 percent, according to what county Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Local 10 news channel on Saturday evening.
On Saturday, Miami-Dade County registered 1,366 new virus cases and on Sunday it tallied 2,152, bringing the county’s total caseload so far to 33,714, of whom 953 people have died.
In Broward County, just to the north and the second hardest hit Florida county, the caseload stands at 14,316 and the death toll at 382.
The total number of hospitalizations in Florida due to Covid-19 since March 1 stood at 14,136 on Saturday and 14,244 on Sunday. Generally, people who are hospitalized with Covid-19 are among the sickest, with many of them being sent directly into the intensive care unit where – among other things – they are often put on ventilators to help them breathe.
Despite the increase in virus cases and hospitalizations since the state began reopening its economy earlier in June, the numbers of available regular and intensive care unit hospital beds have declined, although these levels are not at the “critical” stage yet.
Florida health authorities stopped providing information about the hospitalization – or hospital bed occupation – level on June 22.
But various Web sites are continuing to make this information public, and according to one of those on Sunday there are 1,408 available ICU beds out of a statewide total of about 6,000.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Republican ally of President Donald Trump, is against any backward movement in the economic reopening that is under way and also opposes making the use of facemasks obligatory on a statewide level.
In counties like Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough and Orange facemasks are, in fact, obligatory – along with social distancing and a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people – and people and businesses failing to comply with these rules are being penalized.
The Miami-Dade County mayor on Saturday announced that personnel are being assembled to go door to door in areas of the county that have been most affected by the virus to distribute informative materials, facemasks and hand sanitizer.
Miami city Mayor Francis Suarez, meanwhile, said on Sunday that he is considering whether to increase sanctions on businesses that do not comply with rules and regulations governing reopening, sanctions that might include imposing an obligatory 10-day closure on businesses for a first violation.
Suarez told local television channels that he and other city officials are monitoring the pandemic figures day by day and “everything is on the table,” although he acknowledged that it would be very unfortunate if the city had to backpedal on reopening measures.