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Florida records 69 new coronavirus deaths, including 12 in Tampa Bay

Deaths in the Tampa Bay area reached a grim milestone Wednesday surpassing 200.
A Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy R. Douglas looks out to the beach as he is stationed at the beach access walkover point while patrolling the beach on Monday in Madeira Beach. "We hope everybody follows the rules of social distancing," Deputy Douglas said. "And if not we're just educating them on it." Pinellas county beaches opened to the  public with no restriction Monday after being closed since Friday, March 20. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has said that deputies and officers will be spaced every 50 feet on the beach enforcing strict social distancing guidelines.
A Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy R. Douglas looks out to the beach as he is stationed at the beach access walkover point while patrolling the beach on Monday in Madeira Beach. "We hope everybody follows the rules of social distancing," Deputy Douglas said. "And if not we're just educating them on it." Pinellas county beaches opened to the public with no restriction Monday after being closed since Friday, March 20. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has said that deputies and officers will be spaced every 50 feet on the beach enforcing strict social distancing guidelines. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published May 6, 2020
Updated May 6, 2020

Florida recorded 69 new deaths from the novel coronavirus Wednesday, as confirmed cases across the state surpassed 38,000.

Among the new deaths, 12 were reported in the broader Tampa Bay region of Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Polk and Pinellas counties, bringing the region’s death toll to 208. Half of the new deaths were recorded in Pinellas County.

The state’s count of deaths attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, now stands at 1,605.

The state on Wednesday added 563 new confirmed cases of the virus, of which 78 were recorded in Tampa Bay. The state’s total confirmed cases grew to 38,002.

To date, 6,777 people in Florida have been hospitalized at some point due to the virus. That count could include people who have recovered or died.

The latest numbers follow a record-high 113 deaths posted by the state on Tuesday. Sundays and Mondays typically see lower counts of reported deaths, so an uptick later in the week is expected.

Tuesday’s surge was much larger than a typical jump: It was the first time the state’s data recorded more than 100 deaths in a single day.

How fast is the number of Florida COVID-19 cases growing?

Morning updates typically show low numbers for the current day.

A Tampa Bay Times analysis of Department of Health data showed that the dramatic increase appeared to be from the state adding the deaths of 41 people who aren’t considered Florida residents. Some of the deaths appear to have occurred several weeks ago — at least one as early as March 17 — but didn’t show up in the state’s count until Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the state recorded one additional non-resident death, bringing the total to 66.

The state’s public-facing dashboard with coronavirus stats does not include non-resident deaths, but they are tracked in the underlying data.

It is unclear why the deaths first recorded Tuesday weren’t added earlier. The health department did not provide information in response to inquiries from the Times.

Florida coronavirus cases by age group

Doctors say older people are at a greater risk to developing severe symptoms from COVID-19, which makes Florida especially vulnerable.

The sudden increase came a day after the state reopened, allowing Floridians to dine at restaurants, shop at non-essential businesses and visit the area’s famous beaches.

As Florida’s economy begins to restart, confirmed coronavirus cases statewide continue to increase each day by the hundreds. The rate at which they are growing, however, has slowed. The number of people testing positive for the virus in Florida has also dipped to around 8 percent.

Reported deaths from the virus have not slowed in the same way. More than a third, or 577, have been attributed to residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

The Tampa Bay area has seen some of the most significant outbreaks in care facilities recorded in the state. One spread through the campus of Freedom Square in Seminole, where the facility has reported 20 coronavirus deaths.

Two nursing homes in Hillsborough County have also reported large outbreaks of the virus, infecting a combined 141 people as of Tuesday.

For overall confirmed cases, Hillsborough County is the region’s leader with 1,331. It has recorded 36 fatalities, including the death of a 64-year-old woman added Wednesday.

Pinellas County reported six new deaths Wednesday: four women aged 90, 85, 83 and 79; and two men aged 77 and 75.

The other new deaths recorded in Tampa Bay were added in Manatee County — which leads the region in overall fatalities from the virus — and Polk County. The deaths of two men aged 78 and 67 and a 66-year-old woman were reported in Manatee; Polk recorded the deaths of an 88-year-old man and 63-year-old woman.

As of Wednesday’s update, Pinellas had 801 cases and 51 deaths; Manatee had 722 cases and 65 deaths; Polk had 564 cases and 30 deaths; Pasco had 285 cases and nine deaths; Citrus had 101 cases and 11 deaths; and Hernando had 97 cases and six deaths.

What are the latest numbers on coronavirus in Tampa Bay?

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