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The Florida Department of Health reported 276 additional coronavirus deaths Tuesday, a single-day record since the onset of the pandemic.

The record-breaking increase of new deaths surpasses the state’s previous single-day high of 257 deaths set on July 31, according to Health Department data. 

Florida also added 5,831 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, the 17th straight day the state reported fewer than 10,000 new cases. 

But as Florida’s virus cases have continued to decline, so has the state’s testing volume: Just under 67,000 new tests were reported by Florida’s Department of Health Monday, the fifth day in a row total tests have been below the 100,000 mark.

During the state’s testing peak the week of July 19, for comparison, there were three separate days where over 100,000 new virus tests were reported, health department data shows. 

The state’s case total Tuesday rose to 542,792 since the first recorded cases at the onset of the pandemic. The positive rate of newly reported Florida COVID cases is 10.3%, again breaching the double-digit threshold for the first time since Thursday. 

Less than an hour after the health department’s daily update, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sat at a college athletics round-table at Florida State University and advocated for the start of the fall sports season. 

“We’re here to say, from the state of Florida: We want you guys to play,” DeSantis said. “To take away that season would be short-circuiting the dreams that so many of our student-athletes have worked for, in many cases, their whole lives.” 

And as K-12 schools across the state start opening their doors for the upcoming school year, over 30,000 children have contracted the virus since March, the latest data shows. 

The statewide COVID-19 case total for children younger than 15 reached 30,441 Tuesday. Of them, 362 have been admitted to a hospital, and three children between 5 and 14 have died. 

During the round-table, DeSantis also emphasized parents’ options, including virtual learning, as the academic year unfolds throughout the state. 

“We want school districts to be offering parents a meaningful choice. If you want to keep your kid in distance learning, no problem,” DeSantis said.  “If you want that in-person instruction, we’ve got to figure out a way to do it.” 

The number of Florida residents hospitalized with COVID-19 increased Tuesday to 31,354 since the pandemic began. The Department of Health notes the total figure is cumulative and does not reflect the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospitals.

For more news, follow Max Chesnes on Twitter by clicking here. 

Max Chesnes is a TCPalm reporter covering health, welfare and social justice on the Treasure Coast. You can keep up with Max on Twitter @MaxChesnes, email him at [email protected] and give him a call at 772-978-2224.

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