THE VILLAGES, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his mission on Monday to calm fears as the number of COVID-19 cases throughout the state continues to dramatically grow every day.
"As you see cases, people should just put it into context about what's going on. There's no need to really be fearful about it," DeSantis said during a news conference at UF Health The Villages Hospital.
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health on Monday, there are 206,447 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 6,336 cases from the day before.
Over the weekend, cases increased by 11,458 and 10,059 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Despite that, the governor remained firm on Monday that the spike in COVID-19 cases is due to an increase in testing.
According to DeSantis, Florida has averaged 60,000 to 65,000 test results over the last week, and to date, Florida has tested around 2.2 million people, which is about 10% of the state's population.
"Some of these things we've seen over the last eight days, I know the media says, oh, this, record case. It's basically been the same," DeSantis said. "I mean, yeah, when we do 85,000 tests, we're gonna have more. We're doing 40,000 tests, we're gonna have less positives. But the percentage has been pretty consistent."
However, the numbers from health officials seem to tell a different story.
DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health both reported that the state's COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to under 5% between the beginning of May and the second week of June.
Since then, it's increased dramatically to just under 15% at one point.
"When you look at the positivity, it's been about 14, 15% pretty consistently now for more than a week," DeSantis said. "When you are seeing the positivity increase, more people out of whatever amount you're doing testing positive, that's an indication of the positivity increasing."
The governor added that the goal is to get the positivity rate back down to 3% to 4%, admitting there are more COVID-19 cases than have been reported.
"I do think [the virus] is circulating at a higher rate now," DeSantis said. "For every case that's documented, there are many more infections that have actually occurred. We only diagnose a small fraction of the total number of infections."