On yet another record-breaking day for Florida, coronavirus claimed its youngest victim in the state yet: a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County.
Only three people statewide under 24 have died from COVID-19, the respiratory illness causes by the virus. This is the first time someone under 18 has died from coronavirus in Florida.
The state added 4,049 new cases on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 93,797 total infections since the first recorded case in March.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the rising case numbers is because of increased testing availability. He also said hospitalizations remain low, and that the median age of the new cases is trending downward.
In an interview with CNN, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said younger people were the largest share of the spike in new cases in the region. Kriseman also pushed back on DeSantis, saying blaming the sharp rise on increased testing is “a pretty silly argument.”
Kriseman, who ordered employees to wear masks in the city this week, said he hopes to expand it on Monday to all residents who go into public places.
How fast is the number of Florida COVID-19 cases growing?
What’s the picture statewide?
Over 24-hours, 12.3 percent of the new tests came back positive. ProPublica, a news agency that has been tracking the effect of reopening, has shown that the share of positive tests per 100,000 people in Florida is on the rise.
The state has tested 1.56 million people since March, which has been sharply increasing in recent weeks.
Hospitalizations increased by 165 people over a 24-hour period, and 40 additional deaths were recorded. In total, 3,237 people statewide have died from coronavirus and 13,227 have been hospitalized.
More than half of all deaths in the state are tied to long-term care facilities.
Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?
What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?
The Tampa Bay area added 965 cases on Saturday. It was a record-breaking day for Pinellas County with 285 new cases. There were also 10 deaths, with five in Hillsborough, two in Manatee, and one each in Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties.
Local leaders have taken recent initiatives to try to curb the spread of coronavirus. In addition to Kriseman’s mask order for workers, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor also put a mask order in place.
The new deaths include a 67-year-old Hillsborough woman, an 81-year-old Hillsborough man, an 87-year-old Hillsborough man, a 65-year-old Hillsborough woman, an 84-year-old Hillsborough woman, an 83-year-old Manatee woman, a 91-year-old Manatee man, a 17-year-old Pasco boy, a 74-year-old Pinellas man and a 92-year-old Polk man.
As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 5,319 cases and 117 deaths; Pinellas has 3,438 cases and 115 deaths; Manatee has 1,786 cases and 128 deaths; Polk has 1,970 cases and 78 deaths; Pasco has 750 cases and 18 deaths; Citrus has 183 cases and 12 deaths; and Hernando has 171 cases and six deaths.
Why do young people die from coronavirus?
The bulk of Florida’s coronavirus deaths are people age 65 and up. Of those under the age of 65 who died, 83 percent had an underlying medical condition, according to a Tampa Bay Times analysis.
Most of those had heart disease, hypertension or diabetes, and often a combination of those ailments. Before the death of the 17-year-old Pasco boy, the youngest death from the virus in Florida was a 23-year-old in Miami-Dade County whose immune system was seriously compromised by lupus, which had affected her heart and kidneys.
Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer Connie Humburg contributed to this report.
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