COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus.

Alachua County’s daily COVID-19 cases increased by 130 and four deaths Monday after a week of decline.

The updates coincided with the highest number of tests ever recorded for the county in a single day — 3,646.

The county has seen its highest surge in cases this Fall as UF students returned to Gainesville, with about 54% of its total positive cases occurring since Aug. 31, the beginning of the semester. There have been 6,092 positive cases in just over two months, according to Alachua County's COVID-19 dashboard.

Florida’s COVID-19 cases have been rising steadily since October, with nearly 4,000 positive cases reported yesterday and a weekly average of over 5,000 cases a day.

The county reported 214 positive cases and four deaths occurred over the weekend. This is the highest number of deaths reported in a day since Sept. 11, when four deaths were also recorded.

Of those 214 positive cases, 130 were reported Sunday, amounting to the highest number of positive cases reported in a single day this month.

Paul Myers, administrator for the county health department, said a large number of labs reported results Sunday, so the high number of positives isn’t surprising. 

He said the 3.57% positivity rate the labs reported was relatively low, but because there were so many tests, the number of positives was higher than usual.

The county reported 75 positive cases and one death Tuesday. UF’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 32 new cases.

After UF’s largest COVID-19 spike during early- to mid-September, the latter half of the month saw a significant drop in the average number of cases, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard

But since then, UF has reported a steady rise in cases. The current number of people in quarantine has fluctuated between about 700 and 900 people for the past three weeks.

For Alachua County, 15- to 24-year-olds have made up 56% percent of its cases, according to the Florida Department of Health. This age group has accounted for 5% of the county’s hospitalizations — 27 — and no deaths.

Meanwhile, 65- to 74-year-olds have accounted for most of the county’s hospitalizations — 119, or 22% — and 20 deaths. People 85 years or older have accounted for most of the county’s 83 deaths — 24 people, or 29%.

Myers said the four deaths from Monday are currently under investigation, so he didn’t know where or how they contracted COVID-19.

He said the county’s health department has not linked any COVID-19 deaths to UF students or faculty. He said overall spread in Alachua County's community is mostly linked to household transmission.

He said the county has found spread among the university population linked to usage of gyms, bars, restaurants and congregate living, including dorms, apartments and Greek housing. 

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Staff Writer

Thomas Weber is the health reporter for the Alligator. He is a junior journalism major at UF who has previously interned for the Gainesville Sun.