- Associated Press - Monday, September 7, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida reported 1,838 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the lowest single-day number of new infections reported by state health officials since June 15.

But health officials across the state were waiting to see if the Labor Day weekend might produce an uptick in the number of coronavirus cases, as might have been the case following the Fourth of July holiday - when the largest single-day surge in new cases was reported about a week later.

To date, the state has recorded more than 648,200 cases of COVID-19.

The latest state data released by the Florida Health Department reflected 22 new deaths. That pushed down the average number of deaths over the past week to 99 a day - the lowest average since July 16. In all, the state has tallied 12,023 deaths linked to the virus since the outbreak began.

State officials said there were 3,160 people in hospitals with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.

Most of the state’s beaches remained open through the Labor Day holiday, with umbrellas sprouting across many of the state’s most popular beaches.

In Miami Beach, patrols enforced the city’s 10 p.m. curfew to keep revelers from gathering late into the night.

The city’s iconic beaches were open for the first holiday since the start of the pandemic.

“We have seen an increase in visitors,” Miami Beach police officer Ernesto Rodriguez told WSVN-TV. “We have additional officers all along our roadways, on our sand, and also on the waterways.”

Footage from the station showed some beachgoers wearing masks, while others kept them handy but not necessarily over their mouths and noses.

Health officials have urged against congregating in huge crowds. Some cities require face masks to be worn in public places, while other areas have suggested that people wear masks and keep their distance from another to keep the virus from spreading.

In Jacksonville, holiday revelers spread out across the sand and bobbed in the water. When the sun went down on Saturday, a line formed outside Surfer the Bar, according to FirstCoast News in Jacksonville.

Many of the patrons wore masks as they stood in line Saturday night, but were undeterred from a night out despite the pandemic.

“I don’t even think about it,” said Joseph Giaritelli, whose mask dangled from an ear as he spoke to the news outlet. “When I go to Surfer right now it’s the last thing I think about honestly.”

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