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Florida reports 509 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, and seven more deaths

The state case total now stands at 52,255 cases and 2,338 deaths.

Coming out of Memorial Day weekend, Florida health officials on Tuesday reported 509 more coronavirus cases and seven additional deaths.

That includes one new death in Pasco County and another in Polk.

The state case total now stands at 52,255 and 2,338 deaths, according to figures from the Florida Department of Health.

The numbers do not perfectly reflect the number of infections diagnosed over a 24-hour period. Sometimes the state adds cases or deaths that are several days old, and officials caution that data flow out as they come in. Throughout the pandemic, death totals announced Sundays and Mondays have lagged dramatically before rising Tuesday mornings. The general weekend pattern may have been extended with the holiday.

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

Morning updates typically show low numbers for the current day.

Infectious disease doctors have told people to expect a rise in cases as gathering spots like restaurants, shops and salons reopen. More contact will likely mean more infections. Florida has not yet seen a dramatic spike, though, three weeks into the easing of pandemic closures.

Where does Tampa Bay stand?

After two days with no new reported deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the seven counties around Tampa Bay added two on Tuesday. Their collective case total rose by 63.

The deaths included a 70-year-old person in Pasco County and a 90-year-old woman in Polk County.

As of the latest update: Hillsborough had 1,969 cases and 75 deaths; Pinellas had 1,196 cases and 76 deaths; Manatee had 990 cases and 93 deaths; Polk had 891 cases and 50 deaths; Pasco had 369 cases and 14 deaths; Citrus had 119 cases and 12 deaths; and Hernando had 112 cases and 6 deaths.

Both Pinellas and Manatee counties have had severe outbreaks of the disease in nursing homes.

The coronavirus has been especially devastating for the elderly, particularly those with existing ailments. As of Tuesday, 1,089 of the state’s deaths have involved residents or staff of long-term care facilities. More than 80 percent of people who have died have been age 65 or older.

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 has Florida changed since reopening began?

For about two weeks, the state charted a plateau on reported deaths from the coronavirus. On May 11, the average daily death toll for the previous week was 40.1. The next day, it dropped to 36.1. It has not gotten any lower, or higher than 40, ever since. (This data, and that listed in the below paragraph, is updated through May 22).

Meanwhile, the average daily case total climbed some and leveled over the same period. On May 11, a week into the state’s phased reopening, the average new case total per day over the previous seven days was 626. Since then, it has bounced but generally risen, to a more recent daily average of 757.7. Fluctuation in positive cases sometimes has more to do with who is being tested and increases or decreases in tests conducted, rather than a shift in prevalence of real infections.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

The data should help show whether elected leaders and residents are acting responsibly. Until doctors find a vaccine, epidemiologists say, the coronavirus is not expected to go away. The goal is to make the crisis more manageable — limiting exposure of the most vulnerable and reducing cases so that new flareups can be identified and contained before outbreaks tax hospital and public health systems.

Doctors urge people to continue using caution in public, staying 6 feet apart from strangers and donning masks.

Testing and hospitalizations

The state is reporting tests for 924,920 people, nearly 15,000 more than Monday. Of those, about 5.6 percent were positive.

The data also tracked 9,740 hospitalizations since the pandemic began, an increase of 59 from Monday. As with other case data, it’s possible some of those hospitalizations were older reports state officials just learned about or published.

Hot spots

Three South Florida counties — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach — have reported the most cases and deaths of coronavirus. Together they account for 29,396 cases, or roughly 56 percent of the state total. Those areas are likewise tied to more than half of reported deaths at 1,291.

By comparison, the seven counties around Tampa Bay have totaled 5,646 reported cases, about 11 percent of Florida’s overall total, and 326 deaths, or roughly 14 percent of the state toll.

Times staff writer Langston Taylor contributed to this report.

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