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Coronavirus cases surpass 42,000 in Florida, as state adds 49 deaths

The death toll stands at 1,898.

Confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus surpassed 42,000 Wednesday, as Florida added 479 cases and recorded 49 deaths.

The state’s death toll stands at 1,898.

Below is the latest on the state’s testing, case growth and numbers for the Tampa Bay region.

How many people have been tested?

As of Wednesday, 595,478 people in Florida have been tested for the virus, or roughly 2.8 percent of the overall population. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 15,162 people were tested.

That’s a testing rate of about 71 people per 100,000 residents for that day — which is lower than what some experts have recommended for adequately monitoring the disease as the state reopens.

Academic and public health experts alike have emphasized that ramping up testing is a key element for states to safely restart economies by allowing the opening of restaurants and businesses.

Federal health officials speaking before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday fielded questions from senators about why America’s testing was still inadequate and the government’s plans for moving its disease surveillance forward.

The federal government said it plans to disperse millions of testing swabs among states over the next month.

Also this week, the White House recommended that governors test all residents and staff for the coronavirus inside America’s nursing homes.

In Florida, according to the latest list provided by the state, there are at least 3,391 active cases among residents and 1,840 among staff members in assisted-living facilities.

Overall, 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.

How are confirmed cases growing?

At the end of April, new reported infections across the state began growing at a relatively flat rate, rather than declining. The trend has continued into early May.

Over the past week, Florida has averaged about 640 new cases per day.

The state’s growth rate is similar to most other states across the country. The New York Times tracks and charts growth rates in all states and 26 are currently seeing cases increase by roughly the same amount each day.

On Wednesday, Florida’s total confirmed cases rose to 42,402.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay region on Wednesday recorded six new coronavirus deaths across Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Polk counties.

The fatalities bring the region’s total count to 250. At least 141, or 56 percent, can be attributed to deaths of residents and staff in long-term care facilities, according to state figures.

Statewide, about 41 percent of all deaths, or 776, involve either a resident or employee of a long-term care center.

The new deaths recorded in the Tampa Bay area were: two men, aged 71 and 89, and a 79-year-old woman in Hillsborough; an 86-year-old woman in Manatee; a 78-year-old woman in Pinellas and an 89-year-old man in Polk.

Together, the seven-county area accounts for 4,426 cases.

Here are the latest figures for each county, by order of highest to lowest confirmed cases: Hillsborough has 1,494 cases and 47 deaths; Pinellas has 923 cases and 64 deaths; Manatee has 806 cases and 76 deaths; Polk has 687 cases and 36 deaths; Pasco has 306 cases and 10 deaths; Citrus has 109 cases and 11 deaths; and Hernando has 101 cases and six deaths.

What are the latest numbers on coronavirus in Tampa Bay?

Times staff writer Langston Taylor contributed to this report.

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