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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Variants A Factor In Florida Uptick In New COVID Cases, Experts Say

The seven-day average of new cases is slightly higher than during the previous week and 20% above two weeks ago, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The Florida Department of Health reported 5,556 people tested positive for the coronavirus since Monday's report, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 2,090,862.

Tuesday's report showed an increase of 2,076 in daily positive cases from Monday, when 3,480 cases were reported.

The seven-day average of new cases is slightly higher than during the previous week and 20% above two weeks ago. That’s according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and analyzed by NPR.

Florida is among five states that together reported 44 percent of the nation's new infections over that span, according to the Johns Hopkins report.

The others are New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Those states, making up 22 percent of the country's population, recorded nearly 197,500 new cases.

New virus variants are one of the drivers in the increase, experts say. And relaxed safeguards during spring break likely helped spread virus variants, University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi told the Associated Press.

Florida is leading the country when it comes to variants of the coronavirus found through genomic surveillance. The CDC reports 3,191 cases of the UK variant, which spreads more easily and is more likely to cause hospitalization and death.

The state also reported a slight increase in hospitalizations from a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. Another 18 were hospitalized on Monday, lifting the total to 3,007 across the state.

Tuesday's report showed that out of the 70 total deaths across the state, 24 occurred in the Tampa Bay area, including 17 in Polk County — the highest total in the county since 17 deaths were reported on Feb. 24.

The statewide death total now stands at 34,434.

Of the 94,940 tests returned on Monday, 6.89% of those tested for the first time were positive.

Florida opened vaccines to residents over the age of 16 on Monday. As of Tuesday, just over 6.43 million people in Florida had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine with nearly 3.7 million people being fully vaccinated.

Information from WMFE's Joe Byrnes and the Associated Press was used in this report.

State Totals (as of Tuesday, April 6)

  • Positive Tests – 2,090,862
  • Deaths – 34,434

Daily Changes:

  • State: Positive Tests – 5,556| Deaths – 70
  • Greater Tampa Bay region: Positive Tests – 1,137

Daily Testing (statewide):

  • Tests Received – 94,940 | Positivity Rate – 6.89%

ABOUT THE DATA: The Florida Department of Health produces a daily update around 11 a.m. with information about COVID-19 cases and deaths that were reported over the previous 24 hours. Cases and deaths in the report may have happened days or weeks earlier, according to state officials. The state separately tracks cases and deaths that occurred on specific days on its dashboard and those totals are frequently updated.

Florida COVID-19 daily total of positive tests/deaths for the last two weeks:

  • April 5: 5,556/70
  • April 4: 4,794/22
  • April 3: 6,017/67
  • April 2: 6,490/96
  • April 1: 6,790/71
  • March 31: 5,294/89
  • March 30: 5,062/92
  • March 29: 3,374/72
  • March 28: 4,943/36
  • March 27: 5,883/27
  • March 26: 5,750/167
  • March 25: 5,773/109
  • March 24: 5,143/31

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Carl Lisciandrello is digital news editor of WUSF Public Media.