Florida reports 67,369 new COVID cases, 2nd-most of pandemic

In this photo taken with a drone, cars wait in line at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site at Zoo Miami, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) (Rebecca Blackwell, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The CDC’s latest data shows Florida reported 67,369 new COVID-19 cases from Wednesday, the second-highest daily total in the state since the start of the pandemic.

A record 75,732 infections were reported from Dec. 30, according to the same federal metrics, which come from the state’s health department.

With the omicron variant now the dominant strain, Florida is averaging well over 50,000 new cases per day over the past seven days, surpassing last week’s average of over 42,000 per day.

The state has verified at least 4,486,276 COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak, a figure that doesn’t include at-home tests that aren’t reported to the health department.

Hospitalizations are also rising, but not to the same levels seen during the delta-driven summer surge. More than 7,000 people across the state were admitted with COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo on Thursday reiterated their stance that people should only get tested for COVID-19 if they are experiencing symptoms or are particularly vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus.

“Our view on testing is if you are just young and healthy, you don’t need to be running out and getting tested every day,” DeSantis said.

Some infectious disease experts have pushed back against that guidance, saying testing is still a critical part of controlling the spread of coronavirus, particularly when the asymptomatic can still pass on the virus.

Experts maintain, however, that vaccination is the best defense against infection.

DeSantis said Thursday that the state will be sending out 1 million at-home COVID tests, prioritizing nursing homes, long-term care facilities and communities with senior citizens in the greatest need for testing.

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