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Florida becomes the third state to reach 5 million COVID cases

It had previously taken months for the state to add 1 million cases, but Florida's total grew from 4 million in less three weeks as the omicon variant surged.

Florida has surpassed the 5 million mark in coronavirus cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state added 49,339 cases on Saturday to bring the total to 5,041,918.

Florida is the third state to reach 5 million cases, according to the CDC. As of Saturday, California has the highest number of cases, at 6,789,403, followed by Texas at 5,402,259.

While it's previously taken months for the state to add 1 million cases, Florida's total grew from 4 million to past 5 million in less three weeks. That occurred on Dec. 28, when the state reported 4,032,212 total cases.

Last week, the Florida Department of Health reported 430,297 new cases. That brought the total for the past four weeks to a reported 1.252 million cases.

During the four previous weeks in November and the first half of December, the state totaled 63,477 cases.

The exponential increase comes as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads around the globe. Despite the spike,, the statewide positivity rate fell for the first time in weeks from 31.2% to 29.3%.

The number of Floridians hospitalized with COVID jumped to more than 11,500 during the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The data showed that 11,552 patients had COVID, up from 8,914 reported a week earlier. Also, 1,451 COVID patients were in intensive care, up from 1,015 a week earlier.

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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Carl Lisciandrello is digital news editor of WUSF Public Media.