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Florida adds 44 coronavirus deaths, as Tampa Bay fatalities surpass 300

The state’s death toll rose to 2,173 on Wednesday.

Florida on Wednesday recorded 44 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the state’s total death toll to 2,173.

Deaths continue to increase in long-term care facilities across the state. As of Wednesday, 968 coronavirus deaths involved either a resident or staff member of a care center. That’s the equivalent of roughly 45 percent of all deaths attributed to the virus.

Confirmed cases jumped by 527 on Wednesday, as the state’s total count of confirmed infections rose to 47,471.

The average growth rate of new deaths has flattened in recent days, while new reported cases have been trending slightly upward.

Statewide, 772,669 people have been tested for the virus, according to the Florida Department of Health. About 6 percent of overall tests have come back positive.

Here’s the latest on coronavirus cases across the state.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay region’s death toll surpassed 300 Wednesday as confirmed infections moved beyond the 5,000 mark.

Since mid-April, new confirmed cases in the region’s two largest cities, Tampa and St. Petersburg, have slowed overall, after increasing by large amounts in the early weeks.

In both cities, week-over-week percentage increases for new cases have slightly fluctuated over the past month. As of Wednesday, Tampa had 1,089 residents with confirmed cases, and St. Petersburg had 390, according to Florida Department of Health figures.

Cases in St. Petersburg, however, are continuing to grow faster.

In St. Petersburg, new reported cases increased by 23 percent from May 6 to May 13, while new cases over the past week increased by 20 percent.

In Tampa, new reported cases increased by 13 percent from May 6 to May 13, and by 15 percent over the past week.

Since last Wednesday, new recorded cases statewide have increased by 12 percent.

Both the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas — and more broadly Hillsborough and Pinellas counties — have seen significant outbreaks in long-term care facilities in recent weeks.

Of the region’s 301 total deaths, 183 can be tied to long-term care facilities, according to the Department of Health. That represents about 61 percent of total deaths.

On Wednesday, the area reported seven new deaths: a 75-year-old woman in Pinellas; two women, aged 76 and 94, in Manatee; and two men, aged 86 and 89, and two women, aged 68 and 88, in Hillsborough.

The counties that make up the greater Tampa Bay region — Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk — together account for 5,007 cases.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough had 1,703 cases and 67 deaths; Pinellas had 1,075 cases and 73 deaths; Manatee had 893 cases and 85 deaths; Polk had 786 cases and 45 deaths; Pasco had 328 cases and 13 deaths; Citrus had 115 cases and 12 deaths; and Hernando had 107 cases and six deaths.

Over the past two days, the total count of cases in Hernando County has decreased. A spokeswoman for the county health department said the numbers included in the state’s count are preliminary and can change as epidemiologists investigate further.

Hospitalizations

Across Florida, 8,934 people, or 19 percent of those infected with the coronavirus, have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.

The count, published in Department of Health data, does not reflect the current number of those hospitalized. It includes people who have died or who have recovered and been discharged.

About 19 percent of those hospitalized have died.

About 55 percent of those hospitalized statewide were older than 65.

Older adults are particularly at risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. As we age, our immune systems can naturally weaken, making it harder to fight off new infections. With age, we also become more likely to have existing health problems that make it harder for the body to respond to a new threat.

The highest number of hospitalizations has occurred among people who were between 65 and 74 years old. They account for 1,894 hospitalizations, or 21 percent of the state’s total.

The second-highest number has occurred between people 75 and 84 years old; 1,749 people in that age group have been hospitalized. Or just under 20 percent of the state’s total hospitalizations.

About 7 percent of overall hospitalizations have been among people younger than 35.

As of Wednesday, the Department of Health had documented at least 39 hospitalizations among children.

Twenty-two hospitalizations occurred among children between infancy and 4 years old, and 17 occurred among children 5 to 14 years old.

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