DeSantis attributes spike in coronavirus cases to 'another big dump of test results'

Governor says 1.66% of positive cases for initial counties in reopening plan
Gov. Ron DeSantis wears mask at Hard Rock Stadium coronavirus testing site
Posted at 3:36 PM, May 21, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis offered an explanation Thursday for a sudden spike in Florida's coronavirus numbers.

Palm Beach County matched its record for most reported new coronavirus deaths in one day and the largest increase in the state, according to data released Thursday by the Florida Department of Health.

The 17 deaths were among 48 statewide, bringing the total number of deaths in Palm Beach County to 308.

But DeSantis attributed the increased numbers to "another big dump of test results: more than 50,000 results with roughly 1,300 new cases."

DeSantis has been criticized by some who feel the state is moving too fast to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

All but the three South Florida counties -- Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade -- began to reopen May 4 with specific restrictions in place. However, at the request of county commissioners, DeSantis allowed Palm Beach County to join the 64 other counties in the first phase of his reopening plan beginning May 11.

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Broward and Miami-Dade counties were allowed to reopen Monday.

The governor said Thursday that the percentage of positive cases among the counties that were the first to reopen is 1.66%.

DeSantis has applauded Florida's efforts to make testing more readily available with drive-thru and walk-up sites throughout the state, particularly in South Florida, which has the highest concentration of coronavirus cases.

There are more than 48,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 2,100 coronavirus-related deaths in Florida. But state data shows more than 640,000 test results have been negative.