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More than 1,300 coronavirus cases reported as health experts keep close watch

The state has said the high numbers come from more testing, but one doctor warns to not dismiss them.

On Wednesday, Florida added another 1,371 coronavirus cases and 38 new deaths as experts watch, waiting to see if it indicates a second wave of the disease or just more people getting tested.

More than three months after the first recorded coronavirus case in Florida and more than a month after the state’s reopening began, 67,371 people have come down with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. The number of people hospitalized with the most severe symptoms of the disease is 11,345.

The death count now stands at 2,889.

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

Morning updates typically show low numbers for the current day.

What’s the picture statewide?

Nearly every day for the past week, the number of new coronavirus cases has topped 1,000. Florida health officials attributed the increase to more people getting tested. More than 1.2 million Floridians have been tested for coronavirus, with 5.3 percent of the tests coming back positive.

But the state health director in Hillsborough County said Tuesday that across Florida, the number of positive tests per 100,000 people is increasing.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

Dr. Marissa Levine, a professor of public health and family medicine at the University of South Florida, said she would be cautious about attributing the high number of new cases to testing alone.

Levine said she’s closely watching the number of hospitalizations and deaths.

“I still believe people who are at higher risk of deaths and complication are cautious and aren’t necessarily as mobile as the younger population,” she said. “If that were to change, we might see a more rapid rise in hospitalizations and deaths.”

Half of all deaths in the state have occurred at long-term care centers, which house older people who are especially at risk if they get coronavirus.

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.

What's the picture in Tampa Bay?

Four new deaths and 248 new cases were reported Wednesday in the Tampa Bay area, according to the state data.

The highest number of new cases was in Hillsborough, where local leaders are concerned after recently seeing the highest number of single-day new cases in the area.

There was one new death in Hillsborough, one in Manatee, one in Pinellas and one in Polk.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 3,027 cases and 97 deaths; Pinellas has 1,746 cases and 101 deaths; Polk has 1,287 cases and 71 deaths; Manatee has 1,245 cases and 114 deaths; Pasco has 457 cases and 16 deaths; Citrus has 130 cases and 12 deaths; and Hernando has 129 cases and six deaths.

In total, the Tampa Bay area accounts for about 12 percent of the state’s total coronavirus cases and 14 percent of the state’s deaths.

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