Following much of Florida reopening, a resurgence in coronavirus cases is showing a new peak in positive tests among younger residents.
The state’s total count of cases reached 109,014 Wednesday, resulting in 3,281 total deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
DOH data shows that in the last two weeks, the confirmed number of cases per day has risen from 1,654 to 5,499, with only a few minor falls in between.
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis released reports Friday regarding Covid-19 positive testing for younger Floridians. The week of June 7, the median age for positive results was 37, and 62 percent of all new cases were under the age of 45.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 20, 2020
“We’re seeing cases, those cases are skewing younger which is the less vulnerable population– less morbidity, less mortality,” DeSantis said at a Saturday press conference in Tallahassee. “At the same time, we’re seeing positive tests at increasing rates, which suggests that you’re seeing increasing transmission, particularly amongst that group in society.”
Along with increased public exposure, DeSantis also mentioned that before returning to the workforce, many younger Floridians are required to be tested for Covid-19, and statewide tests are now open to all residents, not just those showing symptoms. With more tests available comes more positive results.
Most residents in this age range are asymptomatic and do not require clinical attention, DeSantis told the conference. Coronavirus has proven to take a significant toll on the more vulnerable elderly population.
Although positive cases appear to be rising, the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths continue to decrease, as they have been for seven weeks, the governor said. Younger Covid-19 carriers are unlikely to need ventilators and/or critical care, but hospitals are prepared regardless.
“The vast majority of Covid related fatalities since May have been long-term care related, so that is where we need to continue to put the effort,” DeSantis explained.
Furthermore, 86 percent of all Florida Covid-19 related fatalities have occurred in the 65+ age group , and there have been more Florida coronavirus fatalities over age 90 than under age 65, as shown in DOH reports.
Long-term care facilities now have easy access to testing, and nursing home staff are being tested every two weeks to avoid harm to long-term residents, DeSantis noted.
DeSantis has persisted in reopening the state despite the rise in cases among younger people.
“I have not preempted locals from doing what they think is right,” DeSantis said. “But at the same time, you have to enforce that, and you have to make a decision on what type of penalties you think are important. I think statewide penalties would be problematic for a whole post of reasons.” (RELATED: Texas To Pause Further Reopening Amid Spike In Coronavirus Cases)
“We just want to make sure we’re putting out the message: take the proper precautions, understand that the social distancing stuff is still important,” DeSantis said. “Even though you may not be at much of a personal risk, you can do your part to help stop the spread, and hopefully protect those who may be a little more vulnerable to it.”