Florida adds another 63 deaths as daily average trends upward

The state also recorded the second-highest increase in hospitalizations since the pandemic began
Face masks and social distancing are the rule at government agencies in Hillsborough County, including the Drew Park Hillsborough Tax Collector's office.
Face masks and social distancing are the rule at government agencies in Hillsborough County, including the Drew Park Hillsborough Tax Collector's office. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published July 7, 2020|Updated July 7, 2020

Sixty-three coronavirus deaths were announced by the Florida Department of Health on Tuesday as the weekly average trended upward.

The new average, about 48 deaths reported each day, is the eighth highest since the first cases of the virus were reported in early March. The highest average was 113.

The number of people in the state who have died from the virus is 3,943. On Tuesday, 7,347 infections were recorded, bringing the total to 213,794 people.

Hospitalizations increased by 381 over 24 hours, the second-highest increase since the start of the pandemic. Since then, 16,733 people have been hospitalized because of the virus, about 8 percent of those infected.

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

What’s the picture statewide?

In a press conference Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he felt the virus had stabilized and that he wanted to get positive test levels back to where they were in May.

Postive tests reported each day continues to rise, according to Johns Hopkins University. At nearly 19 percent, the rate is the second highest of any state, after Arizona. The World Health Organization recommends a positivity level of 5 percent. Anything above that level may mean testing isn’t widespread enough, according to Johns Hopkins.

The state reported Tuesday that 35,330 tests were done. Since March, about 2.27 million people in Florida have been tested.

The median age of those testing positive for the virus has ticked slightly upward, from people in their young 30s to people who are in their late 30s, with Tuesday’s median age 40.

Though the bulk of deaths from the virus are adults 65 and older, younger adults have also felt the effect. Thirty percent of hospitalizations are people 54 and younger.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s happening in Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay area added 16 deaths and 1,465 cases Tuesday.

The bulk of the cases were in Hillsborough, which consistently has the highest number of cases in the region.

Pinellas, the county with the region’s highest death toll, recorded seven new deaths. Hillsborough added five, while Manatee added three and Polk added one.

The state releases demographic information on each death but the totals in this category sometimes differ from the total deaths announced because of reporting delays.

The latest deaths reported in Hillsborough include men age 52, 71, 77, 82 and 94, and women age 69, 78, 79, 81, 84, 88 and 95; in Manatee, a 93-year-old man and 81- and 89-year-old women; in Pinellas, 58- and 96-year-old women and men age 64, 76, 78, 81 and 98; and in Polk, a 54-year-old man.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 15,362 cases and 167 deaths; Pinellas has 9,032 cases and 208 deaths; Polk has 5,665 cases and 116 deaths; Manatee has 3,890 cases and 137 deaths; Pasco has 3,004 cases and 27 deaths; Hernando has 592 cases and seven deaths; and Citrus has 419 cases and 13 deaths.

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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 are the status of hospitals in Florida and other states?

About 21 percent of hospital beds and about 16 percent of intensive care unit beds are available in Florida, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

In Pinellas, four hospitals were out of ICU beds earlier in the week. In Hillsborough, three hospitals reported no available ICU beds

Low or no capacity were also reported in areas across the state. Five hospitals in Central Florida reported no ICU beds available on Monday. Another three hospitals in Pasco and one in Polk had no available ICU beds.

“If we continue to increase at the pace we have been, we won’t have enough ventilators, enough rooms,” said Dr. David De La Zerda, ICU medical director and pulmonologist at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, in an interview with Time.

In South Carolina, local authorities talked about an emergency plan to add 3,000 hospital beds to meet the projected need, according to Time. In Texas, hospitals in major cities say the surge in coronavirus cases could overwhelm their capacity in two weeks, according to the Texas Tribune.

In the Tampa Bay area, Pinellas County had the highest increase in hospitalizations, followed by Hillsborough and Manatee County. Pinellas has reported the most single-day hospitalizations compared to the other counties in the Tampa Bay area.

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