MELBOURNE, Fla. — On the same day that Florida set a record for the most newly reported COVID-19 deaths in one day, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is "trending in a better direction."
"Obviously, we would love to have zero deaths," DeSantis said during a news conference at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne on Thursday. "If we could do that, we would want as few as we can."
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On Thursday, Florida tallied 173 newly reported COVID-19 deaths, a record one-day increase for the state, bringing the total number of deaths to 5,518.
DeSantis said the public shouldn't be mislead by that number, claiming those deaths could date back several weeks, even months.
"When the state reports that, that's not saying that those deaths occurred last night," DeSantis said.
Without addressing the death rate any further, the governor claimed Florida's COVID-19 positivity rate has stabilized and the state is seeing positive trends.
"We're definitely trending in a better direction," DeSantis said. "I do think South Florida is definitely stabilized and I think Miami is showing some signs of improvement."
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According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health on Thursday, there are 389,869 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 10,250 cases from the day before.
Despite that, the governor said Florida is seeing a drop in COVID-19 emergency department visits.
"It's less than half, the last few days have been less than half of what it was the last week of July. That is a positive trend," DeSantis said. "That said, you can have infections drop, you can have new hospital admissions drop, but you still have folks that are currently hospitalized. That's just the reality. And I think the outcomes are much better today than they were as a percentage in March and April, particularly compared to other parts of the country."