TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to climb in the Tampa Bay area and around the state of Florida.
The increases come as the state has been in the process of reopening businesses and expands testing for the coronavirus.
According to data from the Florida Department of Health, there were 3,207 new cases reported on June 18. That's the largest single-day spike in positive case reports since the state began tracking them. It's the first time the state has seen a number higher than 3,000.
The Florida Department of Health is reporting 85,926 total positive cases, 12,577 hospitalizations and 3,061 deaths.
"COVID is not over," Dr. Marissa Levine, with USF Public Health, said Wednesday. "It is here with us -- these numbers emphasize the fact it's still here with us."
Levine said increased testing and the state's percent positive rate aren't necessarily the best indicators for how well the state is responding to the virus. She says we also watch any increases in hospitalizations and, "then, over a longer period of time, the deaths."
Experts nationwide say now is not the time to relax health and safety practices and guidance from the CDC. Levine and other health professionals say we must still take seriously social distancing, keeping groups small, covering our faces and cleaning and sanitizing regularly.