Florida tops 500K virus cases as testing resumes after storm

Florida tops 500K virus cases as testing resumes after storm



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida surpassed 500,000 coronavirus cases Wednesday as testing ramped up following a temporary shutdown of some sites because of Tropical Storm Isaias, state officials said.

A long line of cars waited outside Hark Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Wednesday morning for a coronavirus testing site to reopen after being closed because of the storm.

Florida reported 225 new deaths Wednesday, bringing its seven-day average of daily reported deaths to a high of 185, behind Texas with 197. Florida’s rate is approaching a quarter of that seen in New York at its peak in mid-April.

The number of people treated in hospitals statewide for the coronavirus continued a two-week decline, with 7,622 patients late Wednesday morning — a decrease of 175 from the previous day and down from highs of 9,500 two weeks ago.

The Florida Department of Health reported 5,409 new coronavirus cases Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, the Florida Association of Counties announced that a county commissioner in Liberty County, 75-year-old Dexter Barber, has died from the coronavirus. The organization said Barber is the first county commissioner in Florida to die from the disease.

“Commissioner Barber’s death reaffirms the seriousness of this pandemic our community faces," Liberty County Sheriff Eddie Joe White said in a statement. "Again, I ask that everyone do their part to stop the spread of this disease and keep each other safe.”

Liberty County is west of Tallahassee in a rural part of Florida.

The Hard Rock site, which is now offering antigen testing, briefly shut down Wednesday because of lightning in the area. Testing resumed once the weather cleared.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week announced that quicker antigen testing, with results in about 15 minutes,...

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