The US state of Florida has broken its previous record for the highest single-day COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.
Florida, which has held record high numbers since the pandemic's beginning, reported 22,783 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.
The state also set a new record for hospitalizations on Friday for the fifth day in a row at 12,864 patients admitted.
Florida reported 134,506 new COVID-19 cases over the last week, more than any other 7-day period during the pandemic, according to data published on Friday by the state health department, which releases COVID-19 data on a weekly basis. An average of 19,215 cases were reported each day.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the previous record high was established on January 8, when 125,937 cases were reported over seven days, for an average of 17,991 cases each day.
Florida was responsible for about one in five new COVID-19 cases reported nationally Thursday, according to the Miami Herald.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said earlier this week that one-third of all US COVID-19 cases reported in the past week were in just two states -- Florida and Texas.
"In fact, seven states with the lowest vaccination rates represent just about 8- 1/2% of the US population, but account for more than 17% of cases, and one in three cases nationwide occurred in Florida and Texas, this past week," Zients said.
Health officials link the escalation to the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus, which accounts for more than 93 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called on residents of the area to get vaccinated.
"If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals … over 95% of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all,” DeSantis said in July. “These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality.”
The US has plunged into confusion over wearing face masks as the Delta variant wreaks havoc across the country.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was forced to reverse its mask guidance after a new study showed the Delta COVID-19 variant produced similar amounts of virus in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who were infected by it, alike.
The CDC director said last week there will be no nationwide mandate for Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
She insisted, however, that getting vaccinated made it less likely that one will catch COVID-19 disease.
However, for those who do catch it, the new study suggests they could have a similar liability of transmission as unvaccinated people, according to the CDC.
Results of the new study prompted CDC to recommend most fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors.