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Florida adds 44 coronavirus deaths, including six in the Tampa Bay region

State cases increase by 941, the largest increase during the past week.

Florida recorded 44 deaths from the coronavirus Tuesday, as confirmed cases jumped statewide by 941.

The new fatalities brought the state’s death toll to 1,849 and confirmed infections climbed to 41,923.

The increase in cases was the largest the state has recorded during the past week, but Florida Department of Health officials said they received roughly 23,900 test results Monday. Officials in a news release said that was the largest number of test results received on a single day.

As of Tuesday, 580,316 people in Florida have been tested for the virus, or roughly 2.7 percent of the overall population. The percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 — the disease caused by the virus — has fallen to about 7 percent, according to the state.

Nationally, the country has surpassed 1.3 million cases and 80,000 deaths.

Federal public health officials on Tuesday testified before the Senate Health Committee and warned against states reopening too soon.

Florida is among more than 30 states that have undergone partial reopening in recent weeks, according to a New York Times project tracking each state’s status.

Gov. Ron DeSantis ended Florida’s statewide shutdown on May 4 with the reopening of restaurants, non-essential businesses and beaches. On Monday, the Sunshine State expanded its reopening to include barber shops and hair and nail salons.

Below are the latest numbers on coronavirus cases in Tampa Bay and nursing homes across the state.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The broader Tampa Bay area on Tuesday recorded six new coronavirus deaths, bringing the region’s total fatalities to 244.

The deaths came from three counties: two 70-year-old women and one 67-year-old woman in Hillsborough, a 99-year-old Pinellas woman and a 74-year-old man and 88-year-old woman in Polk.

The new fatalities don’t necessarily mean the people died Tuesday; Tuesday marks 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 account for 4,362 cases.

As of Tuesday, 1,058 people in the region had been hospitalized at some point because of the virus.

Manatee County, where several large outbreaks have occurred in nursing homes, continues to lead the region in reported deaths with 75. Hillsborough County continues to have the most confirmed infections.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough had 1,473 cases and 44 deaths; Pinellas had 909 cases and 63 deaths; Manatee had 795 cases and 75 deaths; Polk had 675 cases and 35 deaths; Pasco had 302 cases and 10 deaths; Citrus had 107 cases and 11 deaths; and Hernando had 101 cases and six deaths.

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.

More nursing home deaths

Roughly 40 percent of coronavirus deaths statewide are attributed to either residents or staff of long-term care facilities.

That number has been increasing over the past week, rising to 745 confirmed fatalities Tuesday, according to a state list tracking the deaths by county.

As the nationwide death toll in nursing homes has continued to climb, the White House on Monday recommended to governors that all residents and staff at the nation’s nursing homes be tested for the virus.

The Associated Press has identified more than 26,000 fatalities among residents and staff of long-term care facilities across America, representing about a third of the country’s recorded deaths from COVID-19.

State health officials in Florida have released data on deaths in long-term care centers by county and facility. The Florida Department of Health says the list tracking deaths will be updated on a weekly basis. The most recent available is from May 8.

The disclosure of the list came amid growing pressure for officials to release more information about some of the state’s most vulnerable — including a public records lawsuit filed by a coalition of news organizations.

The state also keeps a list of active coronavirus cases at care facilities, which as of Tuesday, showed confirmed cases in 3,515 residents and 1,738 in staff members across 482 facilities.

The state released a new format for the list Tuesday with charts that depict current cases by day for each county.

A Seminole retirement community has been devastated by one of the state’s deadliest outbreaks.

The Tampa Bay Times has identified 30 residents of Freedom Square of Seminole and one employee who have died of COVID-19.

Other big outbreaks have occurred at long-term care facilities in Hillsborough, Manatee and Polk counties. Across the Tampa Bay region, at least 136 deaths have been tied to long-term care centers, according to the state’s health department.

Times staff writers Langston Taylor and Kathryn Varn contributed to this report.

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