Florida nears COVID record with 26,000+ new cases in 1 day

Lenarco Velasco gets a COVID-19 PCR test, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, in Miami. (Marta Lavandier, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With the omicron variant rapidly spreading and lines of people swarming testing sites before Christmas, Florida nearly set a new record for daily COVID-19 infections.

The state reported 26,811 new cases to the federal government from Wednesday, the CDC’s latest data shows Thursday.

Florida’s highest single-day case increase was 27,669 from Aug. 26, according to the CDC. This latest increase is the second-highest.

The state appears poised to soon surpass the daily record, a sudden turnaround after Florida had been reporting fewer than 2,000 cases per day from late October into early December.

The state reported another 20,194 new cases from Tuesday.

Florida averaged over 21,000 new cases per day at the peak of the summer surge in August. That spike was fueled by the delta variant.

Early research shows that the omicron variant may not hospitalize as many people, and it is likely to help that more are now vaccinated and have gotten booster shots.

Drive-thru testing sites in Miami-Dade and Broward counties were packed again Thursday with people looking to get checked before visiting with family over the Christmas holiday this weekend.

Officials are urging residents to get vaccines and boosters, and to avoid gathering with people who aren’t protected, particularly indoors.

For information on where you can get a COVID-19 test or vaccine in South Florida, click here.