Doctor says COVID-19 surge is coming in state after day of highest number of cases reported

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Dr. Marissa Levine, a USF professor of public health practice. Credit: WINK News.

Florida reported its highest daily case rate for the coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic Thursday. More than 19,000 positive COVID-19 cases were reported by FDOH, so we looked at the possibilities for what is causing the spread and the contributing to the latest reports.

Florida Department of health says there was an increased number of tests performed around the holidays, and reduced hours and closures at some of the testing sites could have delayed results processing and impacted the data we see.

We spoke to Dr. Marissa Levine, a USF professor of public health practice. She said, regardless of whether there was a backup in reporting test results, she believes the increase in cases is the beginning of a surge from holiday gatherings and travel.

“Now, we are a couple weeks out from Christmas. We are starting to see those gatherings impact us, and we are just about a week out from New Year’s Eve,” Levine said.

The top four days with the highest new cases reported in Florida have all been within the past week.

“These numbers are through the roof and very, very concerning,” Levine said. “Because when we see significant increase in cases, another couple of weeks, we see increases in hospitalizations, and a month or more after that, we start seeing deaths go up.”

FDOH says the test results from all of the people getting tested before the holidays could have impacted the numbers. The new case positivity rate being reported is 11.60%, which is within the normal range over the past two weeks, according to FDOH.

Thursday, the CDC also showed Florida has recorded 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants. When we spoke to Dr. Levine, she also mentioned variants, saying it spreads easier. She’s urging people not to let their guard down.

“The bottom line is, with the tests reported, we have a pretty high positivity rate, and that tells me there’s lots of disease in the community,” Levine said.

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