• Florida keeps seeing a drop in new COVID-19 cases and a slowing down in daily deaths
  • Hospitalizations are also lower, as is the statewide positivity rate
  • Officials fear gains could be undone by the Labor Day weekend

The welcome decline in new COVID-19 cases in Florida that began mid-July continues, as does a leveling-off in the number of daily deaths.

On Labor Day, the Sunshine State added 1,838 new cases to bring the state's total to 648,269 persons since the pandemic began in January. There were 22 deaths among state residents Monday.

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) reported 2,564 new cases and 38 new fatalities Sunday. Florida, however, still has the third largest number of confirmed cases in the U.S. after California (741,000) and Texas (669,000).

The continuing drop in the number of new cases, however, could come to an end when data from the three-day Labor Day weekend begins coming out in the coming days. The Sunshine State has experienced spikes after the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends.

FDOH hasn’t reported a daily increase above 10,000 cases since July 25. Its data shows daily case totals have been decreasing since the high of 15,300 on July 12.

FDOH also hasn't reported more than 5,000 daily cases since Aug. 15 with the exception of Aug. 1, when a data dump that included tests up to five months old saw cases soar to 7,569.

It was back in July 19 when Florida saw the most cases reported in a single week: 80,000. Nearly 300,000 new cases have been reported since that time.

Central Florida is the hardest hit region after surpassing 100,000 total cases Saturday. The region accounts for 16% of the statewide cases and 15% of total deaths. On Monday, Central Florida added 298 cases. Orange County is the second-worst hit with 37,152 total cases while Polk County has 17,863.

Deaths remain mostly on the decline thrughout the state. From the single-day high of 193 on Aug. 5, Florida has seen more than 100 deaths per day from July 7 to Aug. 14. FDOH data shows the week ending Aug. 16 with the highest number of fatalities in a single week at 1,266 deaths.

The positivity rate for new cases stood at 4.55% on Sunday, according to FDOH. That figure jumps to 6.35% when all cases when it includes retests of those previously infected.

Hospitalizations due to the disease continue on a steady decline from mid-July highs of more than 8,000. There were 3,144 hospitalizations across the state as of Monday.

A lab technician sorts blood samples for a COVID-19 vaccine study at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida.
A lab technician sorts blood samples for a COVID-19 vaccine study at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida. AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA