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Florida sets state record with 5,500 new coronavirus cases in one day

The news comes as the United States reached its highest number of new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
A medic takes samples of Juan Parra, 43, at a "drive-thru" coronavirus testing lab set up by the local community center in West Palm Beach, 75 miles north of Miami, on March 16, 2020.CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Florida set a new record after reporting more than 5,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

State officials confirmed another 44 new deaths related to the coronavirus on Wednesday as well, bringing the state total to 3,281.

The rapidly escalating daily figures continue a trend that began when Florida started reopening its economy last month, NBC Miami reported. In response, several counties and cities have implemented emergency orders requiring the wearing of masks in public places like stores and cracking down on businesses that aren't enforcing social distancing rules.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged residents to avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation at a press conference on Wednesday.

“In Florida, you know it's hot, but that sunshine, heat and humidity is your friend," DeSantis said. "When you're in an enclosed space, particularly if you don't have social distancing, if it's like a private party or something like that, and you're cramped in with bad ventilation, you're gonna have more spread.”

DeSantis hasn’t issued a statewide order requiring masks in public as many other states have.

Florida has been in the news for several instances of large events that spread COVID-19.

One group of friends in Jacksonville told the local NBC affiliate they went out to one bar as the state began to reopen and at least a dozen of them tested positive soon thereafter.

In Orlando, popular University of Central Florida student hangout The Knight's Pub had its liquor license suspended after 13 employees and still more bar patrons tested positive for the virus.

“We have linked 152 cases to that specific location,” Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said, according to WFTV. “That’s about 50% of the people who entered that bar.”

Florida was among several states reporting record-high numbers of cases this week. According to NBC News, the U.S. broke its record for the highest coronavirus cases recorded in a single day on Wednesday, with 45,557 new positives reported.

Wednesday's cases top the previous highest daily count from April 26 — during the first peak of the pandemic in the U.S. — by more than 9,000 cases, according to NBC News' tracking data.

Health experts told NBC News on Monday that the resurgence in cases in Southern and Western states can be traced back to Memorial Day when many officials began loosening lockdowns and reopening businesses.