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Florida surpasses 8,000 COVID-19 deaths, patients decline

Florida surpasses 8,000 COVID-19 deaths, patients decline

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida reported 180 new COVID-19 deaths on Friday, raising the number of people who have died of the virus to more than 8,000.

But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a Friday news conference that hospitalizations, positivity rates and other indicators were improving.

"Hospitalizations (have) a great movement downward everywhere in the state. Let's just keep that going," he said after holding a discussion with transportation industry executives.

With the new deaths reported Friday, the seven-day average is now 155, down from a high of 185. The number is below 218 for Texas over the past week, and more than 760 for New York at its peak in mid-April.

The number of people being treated in Florida hospitals for the disease has been on the decline for just over two weeks. There were 7,174 patients in the late morning Friday, according to a state census posted online, 175 fewer than the previous day and down from highs of more than 9,500.

"I think people have done a good job, and that's the way these things go," DeSantis said.

DeSantis said he wants the numbers to continue to improve so tourism can resume and workers in the hospitality and the service industry can return to work.

The governor pointed out that Orlando, home to several theme parks, had done a good job of mitigating the spread, but it was "not where they need to be." He said worst-hit South Florida was still behind.

"I want all these people back to work," he said. "As we continue to see positive trends, we will have an opportunity to see some improvements."


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