Covid-Florida In this file picture, a health care worker administers a COVID-19 test at a mobile walk-up testing site in Crandon Park, Miami.
Image via AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Incoming travelers and lax behavior could bring difficult months ahead for the state, already at red level and seeing a worrying situation in hospitals.

The Florida Department of Health (FDH) reported Thursday its highest positive COVID numbers on a single day since July. The agency has reported 10,870 additional cases of infection.

On Tuesday, Florida became the third state to surpass 1 million cases. According to FDH data from Dec. 2, the number of positive cases has climbed to 1,029,030.

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Florida’s death toll is at 18,874 and 55,820 patients have been hospitalized, according to the FDH dashboard. The statewide positivity rate based on Wednesday’s testing was at 8.19%, the health department also stated.

Since November, experts have warned the winter season could be worse in terms of the pandemic because of cold weather, holiday celebrations, and lax behavior. At the time, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir stated, “Our nation is in a critical phase of the pandemic.”

Florida faces difficulties with the arrival of travelers who seek to escape from cold climates during the winter season. People resisting security measures and packing the state’s bars have also been a problem.

According to the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s Nov. 22 report, Florida is at red level, which means a tally of 101 or more new cases per 100,000 people—the 37th highest rate in the country. 

“Florida is at Level Orange for test positivity, indicating a rate between 8.0% and 10% of contagion,” the report said. 

The report includes several recommendations, including the use of masks at all times in public. An increase in physical distancing by reducing capacity in public and private indoor spaces have also been suggested.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a supporter of President Donald Trump, has been criticized for his poor response to the novel virus which has claimed the lives of 276,773 Americans. The United States’ death toll ranks the highest in the world.  

Still, Florida does not have a statewide mask mandate, and it is only required in some counties.

The FDH report also mentioned early signs of reduced personal protective equipment (PPE) within specific hospitals.