Florida coronavirus deaths top 2,300 as state reports 879 new cases

Hillsborough County is approaching 2,000 cases.
New signage greets reminds guests of the new rules as the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa re-opens to the public for the first time since March 20 in Tampa.
New signage greets reminds guests of the new rules as the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa re-opens to the public for the first time since March 20 in Tampa. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published May 25, 2020|Updated May 25, 2020

The counties around Tampa Bay have not reported new deaths from the novel coronavirus for two straight days, according to data from the Florida Department of Health, which showed the state case total rising above 51,000.

Of those, 2,331 people have died.

Related: Ousted manager was told to manipulate COVID-19 data before state’s re-opening, she says

A holiday weekend, coupled with a steady thaw on pandemic closures, has offered a gasp of relief for Floridians — as epidemiologists warn residents to be vigilant, staying clear of big groups, sanitizing and wearing masks in public to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.

The disease caused by the coronavirus is still prevalent. Between Sunday and Monday, health officials reported 879 new cases and 15 new deaths. That included 56 new cases in Hillsborough County, which is now approaching 2,000 overall.

Related: A tribute to the Floridians taken by the coronavirus

Florida’s numbers will be closely watched over the coming days, both by people here and disease specialists nationwide. Monday marks three weeks since Gov. Ron DeSantis’ phased reopening began, and critics say the measure of whether he pulled the trigger too soon will come in the state’s data. Case-tracking statistics, according to epidemiologists, lag a couple of weeks behind shifts in policy because of how long it takes for the disease to produce symptoms in newly infected people.

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

Morning updates typically show low numbers for the current day.

What is happening locally?

Hillsborough still has the most cases in the Tampa Bay region, with 1,939 as of the Monday update. Pinellas has 1,187; Manatee, 988; Polk, 878; Pasco, 360; Citrus, 119; and Hernando, 112.

Over the previous day, other than Hillsborough only Pinellas and Manatee added more than a dozen cases, at 14 and 13 respectively.

Those two counties, which have each had serious outbreaks of the coronavirus in nursing homes, have reported the most deaths in the pandemic around Tampa Bay. Manatee has had 93 deaths, according to the data, and Pinellas 76. Hillsborough has reported 75 deaths; Polk, 49; Pasco, 13; Citrus, 12; and Hernando, 6.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What age groups are most affected?

The coronavirus continues to touch all segments of the population, but it hits hardest for people who are older or have previous health problems. Of those who have died from the disease, according to the state reports, 84 percent are aged 65 or older.

The same group accounts for about a quarter of all those infected.

Many deaths tracked by Florida in the pandemic, 1,085, involve residents or staff of long-term care facilities.

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.

How about hospitalizations?

Health officials are reporting information on 9,681 hospitalizations related to COVID-19, including Floridians and some non-residents.

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Nearly 1 in 5 of those people have died, according to the data.

A little more than half of the hospitalizations involve people aged 65 or older.

The county with the most by far is Miami-Dade at 2,751. Add Broward and Palm Beach, and roughly 55 percent of all reported hospitalizations have occurred in those three South Florida counties. The same places account for more than 29,000 cases overall.

The region around Tampa Bay, from Citrus south to Manatee, east to Polk, accounts for 1,368 hospitalizations, or about a quarter of the state total.

What’s up with testing?

The state reports tests for 909,928 people, with 51,746 positive, or a rate of nearly 5.7 percent. Florida is home to about 21.5 million people.

Times staff writers Rebecca Woolington and Langston Taylor contributed to this report.

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