• Thomas Parker

Several states report coronavirus case spikes

Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas reported spikes in virus cases as states continue to increase testing, and some disregard social distancing to protest or party.

Arizona health officials reported 2,519 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, a single-day record high from earlier in the week. Florida announced a record-breaking figure as well with 3,207 new cases. California officials reported 4,084 new cases, and Texas reported 3,516 new cases--also a single-day record.

The record-setting new case figures have been accompanied by increases in testing, and in some states the result has been a decreasing rate of positive tests for the population--but not in all states.

About 21% of the new cases in Florida came out of the Tampa Bay area, which accounts for 13% of the state's population. Hillsborough and Pinellas County both had record-high single-day case numbers with 337 and 203 respectively.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that the increase is due to expanded testing of people who are asymptomatic as well as testing of people in high-risk populations. The state has now tested 1.5 million people, with about 5.7% testing positive for the virus.

Last week, a health official in California shared a similar view.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state's secretary of Health and Human Services, said that overall case counts are not necessarily a measure of how the state is faring in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve ramped up testing in an extraordinary way, nearly hitting our goal that was set for August — not June, not July, but August — of getting to 60,000 to 80,000 tests a day,” Ghaly said. “We’re already knocking on that door, averaging in the mid- to high 50s over the past few days across the state.”

In Arizona, the state reported a record-number of patients in ICU beds on Thursday, accounting for 84% of the state's capacity.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey addressed the recent surge and announced new policies that allow local officials to require residents wear masks in public and in businesses.

“I said two weeks ago that there is not a trend here,” Ducey said Wednesday evening while presenting a chart of daily new cases across the state. “Looking at the last two weeks of data, there is a trend. And the trend is headed in the wrong direction and the actions we’re going to take are intended to change that direction and reverse this trend.”

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott assured the public that there is "no reason to be alarmed." Unlike in Arizona, the number of occupied beds is only a small percentage of the state's total.

The governor also attributed the recent spike in cases to increased testing of Texas' prison population, but did acknowledge that some of the increase may have been due to citizens not practicing social distancing, particularly in "bar-type settings."

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