ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida has shattered its previous record for the number of coronavirus cases recorded in a day, according to data released Thursday.

The announcement came shortly after federal officials revealed that more than 86,000 Floridians applied for new jobless benefits last week, a drop of almost 30 percent from the previous week as pandemic-related restrictions continued easing up across the state.

The easing of restrictions meant to stop the spread of the new coronavirus has accompanied new outbreaks around Florida, forcing some local leaders to pull back.

The Florida Department of Health on Thursday reported 85,926 coronavirus cases statewide, a daily jump of 3,207 cases, the largest daily increase since the start of the pandemic in March. The previous record — 2,783 cases — occurred Tuesday. The state has had at least 3,061 related deaths.

At least some of the increase reflects expanded testing especially among people who are younger and without symptoms. But the rate of positive tests also has been ticking upward in recent days, raising alarm.

In the Florida Keys, Monroe County commissioners voted Thursday to make facial coverings mandatory, effective immediately. All employees and customers in businesses and other public places where there is a roof overhead must now wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, according to the new ordinance. Patrons in restaurants and bars are permitted to remove their masks to eat and drink.

Commissioners also recommended that anyone age 6 and older should carry a mask when they leave home and wear it “whenever they come within six feet of another person.” Violation of the mask requirement is punishable by fines, but not jail time, the commission said in a news release.

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A TSA worker checks a passenger before entering a security screening at Orlando International Airport on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. The Florida Department of Health on Thursday reported 85,926 coronavirus cases statewide, a daily jump of 3,207 cases, the largest daily increase since the start of the pandemic in March. John Raoux/Associated Press

The Florida Keys reopened to visitors at the beginning of the month after being closed to nonresidents starting in mid-March in order to stop the virus’s spread.

Further north, in Miami, 30 healthcare workers at a Veterans Administration hospital tested positive for the virus.

In neighboring Broward County, a Jewish community center closed its preschool camp after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The child of one of the staff members also tested positive, Scott Ehrlich, CEO of the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie, told news outlets.

The South Florida preschool was closed from mid-March until June 1, when it reopened with daily cleanings. After the school year ended on June 12, the preschool camp opened Monday with 80 campers between the ages of 3 months old to 5 years old.

In Orlando, seven firefighters tested positive for the virus, forcing a total of 64 firefighters to self-quarantine out of exposure concerns. At Orlando International Airport, officials said Wednesday that all 22,000 airport employees would be required to wear facial coverings inside airport public areas.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday said 86,298 jobless claims in Florida were filed last week, a drop from 112,161 claims in the prior week. Since mid-March, more than 2.3 million Floridians have applied for unemployment benefits. Before the pandemic, Florida had a workforce of about 10 million people.

Nationwide, about 1.5 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week.


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