Pinellas County added 13 coronavirus deaths Tuesday as 67 deaths were recorded statewide.
Nearly four months after the first case was recorded in Florida, 3,333 people have died. The number of positive infections also increased by 3,289 cases, bringing the state to 103,503 infections over the course of the last few months. Often numbers of reported data are higher on Tuesday after lower numbers on Sunday and Monday.
Hospitalizations increased by 207 people on Tuesday. Since the start of coronavirus’s spread in Florida, 13,614 people have been hospitalized.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has remained firm in attributing the rise in cases to expanded testing.
How fast is the number of Florida COVID-19 cases growing?
What’s the picture for the state?
Over the weekend, the Florida Department of Health issued a new health advisory urging the public to wear masks in public and to avoid crowds of 50 people or more.
Saturday set a record for most single-day reported cases, with 4,049 new infections. At a news conference that day, DeSantis repeated the advisory.
The DeSantis administration has emphasized that the median age for those with new cases is trending younger. Though the overwhelming majority of coronavirus deaths are in people 65 and up, 45 percent of hospitalizations are people 25 to 64.
According to ProPublica, a news agency that has been tracking the effects of reopening across the nation, Florida does not meet the White House reopening criteria for available intensive care unit beds. On Monday, the state changed how it reports ICU bed availability, which could mean fewer occupied ICU beds are reported to the state, according to Florida Politics.
More than 1.64 million people across Florida have been tested for the virus, with the boom in demand creating delays at some testing facilities.
As of Tuesday, the weekly average is about 35 deaths a day.
Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?
What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?
Nineteen new deaths were recorded in the Tampa Bay area on Tuesday, 13 of them in Pinellas County.
Despite recording fewer coronavirus cases than Hillsborough County, Pinellas has had more deaths. Nearly 75 percent of the Pinellas deaths can be tied to a long-term care facility. People from Freedom Square in Seminole account for 34 deaths and other deadly outbreaks have been reported at Gulf Shore Care Center and St. Mark Village.
However, Dr. William Pellen, the Director of Investigations with the District Six Medical Examiner, said over the weekend and Monday they recorded 10 deaths. Pellen wrote in an email he suspects the high number comes from how the state reports data, but he cannot speak to it for sure.
Of the 10 new deaths the medical examiner’s office had come in over the weekened, nine were tied to long-term care facilities.
The other area deaths for the day include four in Hillsborough, one in Manatee and one in Polk County.
The local deaths include, for Hillsborough, women age 68 and 97, and a man age 82; in Manatee, a 97-year-old woman; and in Pinellas, men age 93, 86, 72, 67, and two age 91, and women age 62, 77, 86 and 76.
The increase in area cases has inspired local leaders to tighten restrictions. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman put a mandatory mask order in place and Hillsborough County has a mandatory mask order for indoor businesses.
As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 6,176 cases of coronavirus and 122 deaths; Pinellas has 4,033 cases and 131 deaths; Polk has 2,279 cases and 79 deaths; Manatee has 2,013 cases and 129 deaths; Pasco has 954 cases and 18 deaths; Hernando has 206 cases and six deaths; and Citrus has 204 cases and 12 deaths.
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 status of deaths in long-term care?
More than half of all Florida’s coronavirus deaths can be tied to long-term care facilities, which house the most vulnerable populations at risk of dying from the virus.
Recently, DeSantis announced staff of all nursing homes would be tested in an effort to stop the spread.
Already, 1,707 people across the state have died in long-term care facilities. In the Tampa Bay area, about 67 percent of all coronavirus deaths are tied to nursing homes. The biggest local outbreaks have been in Pinellas, Manatee and Hillsborough County.
In Pinellas, 75 percent of deaths are linked to these facilities. In Manatee, it’s 67 percent. In Hillsborough, 64 percent. And as of the latest information reported to the state, Pinellas County has about 89 long-term care facilities where at least one resident or staffer has coronavirus. Hillsborough has about 52 facilities and Manatee has 24.
The push to test staff and residents of nursing homes came from advocates and health experts, weeks before DeSantis announced the policy.
Across the nation, at least one-third of all coronavirus deaths come from long-term care facilities, both residents and employees.
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