July 13 (UPI) — Florida recorded 15,300 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the most positive new cases any state has reported on a single day since the onset of the pandemic.
The state far surpassed the previous record of 11,434 new cases — also set by Florida on July 4 — as it has now reported a total of 269,811 cases, the third-highest tally in the nation. Florida also reported 45 new deaths for a death toll of 4,242 — ninth highest in the country.
Florida Department of Health records also showed that laboratories in the state reported a record 142,981 tests on Saturday, up from the previous record of 95,335 on Thursday.
The overall positive rate is 10.5 percent, including 13.62 in tests reported Saturday.
Hospital beds are filling up, including those in intensive care.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez told CNN the county is reaching capacity.
“Our ventilator usage has gone up, close to 200 now, so we definitely had a sharp increase in the number of people going to the hospital,” Gimenez said.
The most recent surge in cases in Florida came as Walt Disney World in Orlando reopened its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks on Saturday.
“Disney, I have no doubt, is going to be a safe environment,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “I think that where you start to see the spread is just in social situations where people let their guard down. Usually, like a private party or something like that.”
DeSantis has moved to suspend on-premise consumption of alcohol in bars amid rapidly rising cases but has resisted calls for a statewide mandate requiring the use of masks and other face coverings in public.
“It’s out of control across the state because our governor won’t even tell everybody to wear masks,” Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., told CNN. “At least in Miami-Dade County, everyone must wear a mask when they’re outside. This is an American tragedy.”
Florida’s tally represented nearly a quarter of the more than 61,400 cases reported nationwide on Sunday by Johns Hopkins University.
The United States leads all nations with 3,304,142 reported cases of COVID-19 and 135,190 deaths related to the virus, according to figures by the Baltimore university.
Arizona, Texas and California have also seen new case trends spike. Arizona reported 2,537 new cases on Sunday, ranking seventh in the nation with 122,467 cases. Meanwhile, Texas reported 10,351 new cases for a total 250,462 — fourth highest in the nation and California reported 8,047 new cases, for the nation’s second-highest total at 312,344 of Saturday.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday he believes “things are going to get worse before they get better” particularly in southern states.
“I think the Southern experience is more likely to mirror Brazil, where you’re likely to see more of an extended plateau once we reach that apex. And you could reach the apex in the next two or three weeks,” he said.
Gottlieb also compared the arc of the outbreak in New York — which still holds the highest case total and death toll in the United States with 401,706 cases and 32,348 — to Italy’s as both were at one point the global epicenter for the virus.
“New York really followed the pattern of Italy, where it was a sharp up, a huge epidemic, but it came down rapidly,” he said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said the state had reported 677 new cases and 5 deaths within the past 24 hours, down from 730 positive tests the previous day, declaring the state’s numbers have remained “low and stable” while expressing concern for the rest of the nation.