Florida reached another ominous mark Thursday with a record 156 deaths from the coronavirus reported in a single day as the state continues to experience a swift rise in cases.
The state Department of Health reported 13,965 new coronavirus cases in Florida, bringing the total throughout the pandemic in Florida to nearly 316,000.
In Miami-Dade County, the state’s most populous and the current epicenter of the outbreak, there were more than 3,100 new coronavirus cases reported.
The 156 deaths statewide eclipsed the previous record set Tuesday of 132 reported deaths. On a seven-day average, Florida is now at over 100 deaths per day — well above previous months.
Hospitalizations also have been surging, filling up ICU units at several hospitals. Statewide, the number of patients being treated in hospital for the coronavirus was at 8,809 Thursday morning, up from 8,276 at the same time the day before.
Hospitalizations were relatively stable in Miami-Dade County, which was a promising sign for the worst-hit county, but they surged elsewhere including in Tampa’s Hillsborough County, going from 282 to 460 patients in the hospital for the coronavirus.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the situation there has become so dire that he is considering another stay-at-home order and business shutdown. Suarez said at a news conference Thursday he would meet with business leaders before making a decision, possibly Friday.
“It’s important for us to understand the reality of the situation we’re in and the gravity of the decisions in front of us,” Suarez said on Twitter. “We know how impactful a stay at home order could be and we’re doing everything we can to avoid it but this is a public health crisis and lives are at stake.”
Thursday’s number of coronavirus deaths pushes the total for Florida during the pandemic to 4,766, the health department reported.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and first lady Casey DeSantis were scheduled later Thursday to appear at a roundtable event in Tampa on the impact of the coronavirus on mental health.
Also Thursday, Florida’s jobless claims last week nearly doubled to more than 129,000 new applicants compared to the prior week, according to federal figures released Thursday.
The jump came after state officials placed restrictions on the onsite consumption of alcohol in Florida bars in response to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.
“Everything that has been happening in the economy in this cycle has been driven by public health measures,” said Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida.
Unemployed Floridians have filed more than 2.8 million unique jobless claims since mid-March, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
As of Wednesday, more than 1.7 million Floridians have been paid more than $10 billion in unemployment claims.
Florida hits new coronavirus death mark with 156 in one day