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Tampa Bay region adds 14 coronavirus deaths, as Florida records 62 more

Cases climbed to 38,828 across the state.
Britany Berrian, of Largo, places a label on a vial containing a used COVID-19 viral test on Wednesday at Community Health Centers of Pinellas, 707 East Druid Road, in Clearwater where Pinellas County began COVID-19 testing on Monday.
Britany Berrian, of Largo, places a label on a vial containing a used COVID-19 viral test on Wednesday at Community Health Centers of Pinellas, 707 East Druid Road, in Clearwater where Pinellas County began COVID-19 testing on Monday. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published May 7, 2020|Updated May 7, 2020

Florida on Thursday recorded 62 new coronavirus deaths, as Pinellas County alone tallied six more to reach 15 newly reported fatalities this week.

The deaths come as the state’s total confirmed cases rose to 38,828. That’s after the addition of 826 cases Thursday.

The statewide death toll stands at 1,667.

As Florida prepares to wrap up the first week of its soft reopening, here’s the latest coronavirus numbers in our local area and across the state.

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

Morning updates typically show low numbers for the current day.

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The broader Tampa Bay region recorded 14 new deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

They were in Hillsborough (3), Manatee (4), Pasco (1) and Pinellas (6) counties.

Thursday’s new deaths included: two women aged 62 and 84 and one 73-year-old man in Hillsborough; three woman aged 68, 79 and 90 and a 75-year-old man in Manatee; a 79-year-old Pasco man; and five women aged 70, 72, 87, 89 and 94 and one 82-year-old man in Pinellas.

The new deaths don’t necessarily mean the people died Thursday; Thursday is the first time the state reported their deaths publicly.

The counties that make up the greater Tampa Bay area — Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk — together have tallied 222 deaths.

On Thursday, they added 102 new confirmed cases.

As of latest counts, Hillsborough had 1,364 cases and 39 deaths; Pinellas had 820 cases and 57 deaths; Manatee had 737 cases and 69 deaths; Polk had 594 cases and 30 deaths; Pasco had 289 cases and 10 deaths; Citrus had 102 cases and 11 deaths; and Hernando had 97 cases and six deaths.

What are the latest numbers on coronavirus in Tampa Bay?

Prison deaths

The Florida Department of Health has added a document tracking coronavirus-related deaths in prisons to its COVID-19 website. As of Wednesday, the document said seven inmates have died at two Florida prisons.

Blackwater River Correctional Facility, in Northwest Florida, has recorded six inmate deaths related to the virus, according to the list. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, 48 inmates and 11 staff members at Blackwater River have tested positive for the virus. The private facility is operated by GEO Group.

The seventh inmate death reported by the health department occurred at Sumter Correctional Institution. There, 94 inmates and 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

The health department said it will update the list on a weekly basis.

The latest on testing

Experts have said that a key element to a safe reopening in Florida is to increase the amount of people being tested for the coronavirus.

Statewide, a little more than 2 percent of the population has been tested, or 493,576 people. That’s 48,762 people tested since the state’s Monday morning update, or an average of 16,254 per day.

That calculates to an average rate of 76 people per 100,000 each day. At least one local health expert has said the state should be testing 150 people per 100,000 each day for a safe reopening.

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The overall number of people testing positive for the virus has dropped to just below 8 percent over the past two weeks.

Test sites in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have expanded to allow people without symptoms to be tested.

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.

Outbreaks in long-term care centers

The number of deaths statewide tied to long-term care centers has continued to grow — and these fatalities have continued to represent a larger share of the state’s overall death count.

About 37 percent of deaths statewide, or 622, have been attributed to residents and staff of long-term care facilities. The state publishes a list of active coronavirus cases in care centers that includes 470 places.

The broader Tampa Bay area has at least 116 fatalities tied to care centers, according to the most recent state figures.

One of the most significant outbreaks in the state has occurred at Freedom Square retirement community in Seminole. There, more than 100 residents and staff have been infected and 21 have died.

Times staff writer Langston Taylor contributed to this report.

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