Coronavirus cases in Florida increase by 951 to top 15,000; deaths reach 323

The Florida Department of Health says the number of known cases of COVID-19 in the state has risen by 951 since Tuesday evening's update as the virus spreads and as more people get tested across the state. The total number of cases in Florida is now 15,698.

The number of deaths has reached 323, an increase of 27 since yesterday. In the Bay Area, Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee, Highlands, and Polk counties all reported a new death, while Citrus County reported three new deaths.

Of the 15,698 cases, 15,234 are Florida residents while 464 are non-Florida residents currently in the state.

Bay Area COVID-19 cases by the numbers:

Hillsborough: 631

Pinellas: 395

Sarasota: 184

Manatee: 172

Sumter: 91

Polk: 206

Citrus: 55

Hernando: 57

Pasco: 127

Highlands: 44

DeSoto: 19

Hardee: 2

The state is not reporting a total number of "recovered' coronavirus patients or those currently hospitalized. As of Wednesday, 2,082 had been hospitalized for treatment at some point.

A total of 144,570 people have been tested in the state as of Wednesday morning, according to the Florida Department of Health.

LINK: County-by-county Florida coronavirus cases

Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday touted his acquisition for the state of the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial medication that President Donald Trump  and his administration have pushed as a possible cure. DeSantis said some Florida doctors are using the drug in conjunction with antibiotics for some severely ill patients. 

Dr. Sunil Kumar, a Broward County pulmonologist, told reporters through video conference that he is using the drug for hospitalized patients along with other strategies.

"We are trying all different modalities -- it is not just the medication," he said. "I think we need to have every option."

Dr. Carlos Campo, who heads the intensive care unit at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, cautioned at the governor's press conference that no one with coronavirus should try hydroxychloroquine outside a hospital because it can cause fatal heart arrhythmias.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

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