- Associated Press - Saturday, October 17, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida reported another uptick in new coronavirus infections on Saturday, surging to more than 4,000 cases - the highest number in two months.

The state also reported nearly 90 more deaths, which pushed its official death toll to nearly 16,000 Floridians since March. Since the outbreak began, Florida has recorded more than 752,00 coronavirus cases.

The rise in Florida comes as infections are increasing alarmingly in other parts of the country, particularly in the Midwest and other areas that were relatively spared during the earlier onslaught of the COVID-19 outbreak.

There was no immediate explanation for the rising numbers. It’s the third time in the past seven days that the number of new cases has well exceeded 3,000, according to state health statistical reports.

Three weeks ago, Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in Florida as part of his push to resuscitate the economy.



The rise comes as Florida prepares to open its polls Monday for early voting ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Saturday’s new report pushed the seven-day average to more than 3,300 cases, although trying to gather statistical trends has been hampered recently because of reporting anomalies.

On two occasions in recent months, one-day totals exceeded Saturday’s surge but were statistical outliers. In one case, data being reported included numbers that should have been previously reported - as was also the case in early September when a testing company dumped data that dated as far back as April.

Setting aside those recent reporting anomalies, Saturday’s number was the highest since Aug. 22, when the state reported more than 4,300 new cases.

The latest numbers also show a slight uptick in the infection rate - at 5.2% - but the Florida Department of Health noted that it was the 65th consecutive day that the positivity rate remained below 10%.

In its report Saturday, the department said more than 2,000 people were in the hospital primarily because of COVID-19 infections.

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