Coronavirus cases continued to climb in Florida, capping the end of the deadliest week on record for the state.
The Florida Department of Health reported 595 new cases of the novel coronavirus from Saturday to Sunday, bringing the state’s overall number of infections to 40,596.
Since March 1, the day Florida reported its first cases of the coronavirus, the state has attributed 1,721 deaths to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. That’s six more deaths since Saturday afternoon - five in Miami-Dade county and one in Pinellas.
Since Monday morning, the state has reported an average of 55 new deaths every day. On Tuesday, state health officials added more than three dozen non-resident deaths to Florida’s overall count, some of which occurred as long ago as last month.
But even when excluding Tuesday’s unexpected report, Florida’s coronavirus updates averaged nearly 46 deaths per day last week.
Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?
How does Tampa Bay compare?
The Tampa Bay region was largely spared from additional deaths overnight, apart from one reported in Pinellas County, health officials said. The death toll among the seven counties that make up the region remains at 235, while the number of positive coronavirus cases is at 4,122.
In Hillsborough County, health officials identified 32 new cases of coronavirus infection overnight, bringing the county’s total number of tracked cases to 1,432. And Manatee County, which leads the region in deaths, saw its number of coronavirus cases increase by 20 since Saturday’s report, bringing the total to 776.
Both Manatee and Pinellas counties have seen spikes in reported deaths, mainly due to outbreaks in nursing homes. One nursing home in Seminole recorded two dozen deaths - one of the largest fatal outbreaks in a long-term care facility in the entire state.
As of Sunday, Hillsborough County reported 1,432 cases and 40 deaths; Pinellas has 861 cases and 60 deaths; Manatee has 776 cases and 75 deaths; Polk has 636 cases and 33 deaths; Pasco has 297 cases and 10 deaths; Citrus has 106 cases and 11 deaths; and Hernando has 100 cases and six deaths.
More testing is being done in Tampa Bay with three no-cost, walk-up sites opening over the week in Pinellas County and a fourth opening on Monday. The testing centers had a rocky start, with long wait times and miscommunication about when people would get their test results back.
What’s the picture statewide?
Gov. Ron DeSantis launched a “soft reopening” this week to slowly revive the state’s economy. But as the numbers of positive cases and deaths continue to climb, many of Florida’s 67 counties have expressed trepidation in embracing the governor’s plan to allow businesses to reopen.
Five of the six deaths reported on Sunday occurred in Miami-Dade county, where the number of positive coronavirus infections is currently 14,007. Sunday’s grim report raises the county’s death toll to 487 – the highest in the state.
In Broward county, where 257 Floridians have died, the state has confirmed 5,858 cases of infection – an increase of 78 over yesterday’s report. And in Palm Beach County, which reports 237 Floridian deaths, health officials have confirmed 72 additional cases since Saturday, bringing the total number of infected to 3,870.
Those three counties weren’t included in the governor’s orders last week to reopen some areas. But Palm Beach County plans to join the rest of the state in the “phase one” of the reopening plan on Monday, the same day the governor has allowed barbershops and salons to reopen.
At the latest count, the state has recorded 1,721 deaths attributed to the coronavirus. There have been 7,171 hospitalizations.
About 539,630 Floridians have been tested for the virus, and of those about 7.5 percent receive positive results, according to the health department. As of Sunday afternoon, 1,265 people were still awaiting test results.
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 status of nursing homes:
Statewide, 703 residents and staff members at 469 long-term care facilities have died from the virus, health department reported. Most of those deaths are tied to facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, the Agency for Health Care Administration issued two new emergency rules on Sunday. They require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to grant access to the health department and its representatives for “infection prevention and control purposes,” according to a statement.
The rules also require all staff at these facilities, both on and off-duty, to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing whenever asked by the Florida Department of Health.
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