Over 5,500 new Florida coronavirus cases reported; record daily increase

The Florida Department of Health says the number of known cases of COVID-19 in the state rose by 5,508 since yesterday morning as the virus spreads and as more people are tested across the state. The total number of cases in Florida is now 109,014.

The number of deaths has reached 3,281, an increase of 44 since Tuesday's update. Locally, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties each reported three new deaths, Polk reported two, and Sarasota reported one.

Of the 109,014 cases, 106,743 are Florida residents while 2,271 are non-Florida residents currently in the state.

Bay Area COVID-19 cases by the numbers:

Hillsborough: 6,892

Pinellas: 4,387

Sarasota: 1,091

Manatee: 2,132

Sumter: 299

Polk: 2,454

Citrus: 219

Hernando: 218

Pasco: 1,084

Highlands: 270

DeSoto: 513

Hardee: 334

The state is not reporting a total number of "recovered" coronavirus patients or those currently hospitalized. As of Wednesday, 13,574 people had been hospitalized for treatment at some point.

A total of 1,669,440 people have been tested in the state as of Wednesday -- about 7.7% of the state's population -- according to the Florida Department of Health.

LINK: County-by-county Florida coronavirus cases and ZIP code map

Florida resident cases in orange; Florida resident deaths in gray. Source: Fla. Dept. of Health.

Wednesday's total new cases represented largest single-day increase since the pandemic began, as well as the 22nd straight day with new cases near or over 1,000 per day. Experts say the current spike is partly due to more tests being given, but also a result of reopening the state.

The rate of positive tests has increased during that time period. It was 18.43% on Tuesday, the most recent date available.

Source: Fla. Dept. of Health

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the recent case increases are largely due to testing of "high-risk" individuals like farmworkers in the state's rural counties, prisoners, and residents of long-term care facilities, though he has also noted the "erosion" in social distancing, especially among the younger demographics.

Prior to this spike, the state had averaged just over 700 new cases per day in the last 30 days. That was a level that the health care system could handle, according to Gov. DeSantis. And while the number of new cases has trended up over the last few weeks, the number of deaths has appeared to trend down, though "significant delays" in data reporting, as the state says, make interpreting short-term trends from that statistic less reliable.

Monday, emergency room doctors and hospital executives said they have enough hospital beds for the moment, but they expressed concern that a large increase in new patients appears to be beginning.

As Florida continues taking steps to ease restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health experts say new cases and more deaths are expected.

Editor's note: The number of new cases and deaths reported each day does not necessarily reflect the day that the case was confirmed. The state says some private testing labs dump large batches of test results which include cases from previous days. Stats for today and previous days will likely change in the future as the state reviews more cases and updates retroactive data.

The state's number of deaths represents permanent Florida residents who have died from COVID-19. The number of non-Florida residents who have died from the coronavirus while in the state is not reported.

If you feel sick:

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

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know

AROUND THE WORLD: CoronavirusNOW.com

Map of known COVID-19 cases:

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