Large Increase in Florida Coronavirus Cases After Data Dump of ‘Stale’ Test Results

Florida reported an unusually high number of new COVID-19 cases Tuesday after a testing company released a backlog of results including some dating back to April.

Tuesday’s report from the Florida Department of Health included 7,569 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 631,040.

The state also confirmed 187 new resident deaths, a majority of them occurring more than two weeks ago. It’s the highest one-day jump in deaths in two weeks and reflects a delay in confirming many deaths in July were, in fact, COVID-related.

There have been 11,374 virus-related deaths among Florida residents to-date, along with 147 non-resident deaths.

The new figures were released after the state’s department of health said nearly 75,000 test results, including some that dated back to April, were released by Quest Diagnostics.

As a result, the department of health and the Florida Division of Emergency Management are severing ties with Quest, which blamed the delay in reporting on a technical issue.

“The law requires all COVID-19 results to be reported to DOH in a timely manner. To drop this much unusable and stale data is irresponsible,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement. “I believe that Quest has abdicated their ability to perform a testing function in Florida that the people can be confident in.”

The percentage of tests coming back positive in the report was 5.89% after retesting of those already positive is excluded, in line with the new case rate over the last week. The data dump from Quest was also excluded from that calculation.

In Miami-Dade, the real positivity rate increased to 8%, its highest in a week. In Broward, it was 5.2%, the highest it’s been in six days. Both rates exclude the excess test result backlog that skewed other numbers in the state report.