Florida adds nearly 10,000 coronavirus cases as total deaths approach 4,000

Of the 48 deaths recorded Wednesday, one was a 24-year-old man in Escambia County.
An employee at MedExpress Urgent Care in Clearwater prepares to administer a coronavirus test in a drive-thru line.
An employee at MedExpress Urgent Care in Clearwater prepares to administer a coronavirus test in a drive-thru line. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Jul. 8, 2020|Updated Jul. 8, 2020

With 48 coronavirus deaths recorded Wednesday, Florida inched closer to 4,000 dead from the virus statewide.

Since the state’s first recorded coronavirus case in March, there have been 3,991 deaths.

The state also added 9,989 new infections. The single-day record is more than 11,000. Statewide, 223,782 people have been infected with the virus. About 11 percent of Florida’s population has been tested for the virus, with the average percentage of positive tests rising.

An additional 335 hospitalizations were also recorded Wednesday, bringing the number of people who have had to seek hospital treatment for the virus up to 17,068. Of the five highest single-day increases in hospitalizations since the pandemic began in March, three happened in July.

The same day, the United States surpassed 3 million coronavirus cases, the most of any country, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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

What’s the picture statewide?

Of the 48 deaths recorded Wednesday, one was a 24-year-old man in Escambia County, the ninth death statewide of anyone 24 or younger.

The weekly death average increased slightly on Wednesday to about 49 people a day. Only one week in early May had a higher daily average than this past week.

The percentage of Florida tests coming back positive has soared above the World Health Organization recommended guideline of 5 percent for reopening communities. The average of Florida tests coming back positive is about 19 percent, the second highest of any state.

Florida’s Department of Health discloses the total number of people statewide who have been hospitalized, but it doesn’t say how many are hospitalized currently. On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t answer a question about why the state hasn’t released this data, as other states do.

Over one month, Florida recorded more than 158,000 new coronavirus cases, nearly 71 percent of all total infections since recording began in March.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay area added 1,814 cases and 10 deaths Wednesday. Seven of the deaths were recorded in Polk County, and three were recorded in Pinellas County.

For the past week, the state has averaged a median age of 37 for positive new tests. Pinellas County’s positive cases have trended slightly older, with an average median age of about 42.

Pinellas County has the highest number of deaths in the region even though it has recorded nearly 7,000 fewer cases than Hillsborough, which leads the area in the number of infections and ranks fourth statewide.

The deaths reported Wednesday include a 49- and 93-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man in Pinellas, and in Polk, men age 54, 72, 80 and 82, and women age 61, 76 and 78.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 16,099 cases and 167 deaths; Pinellas has 9,395 cases and 211 deaths; Polk has 5,895 cases and 123 deaths; Manatee has 4,080 cases and 137 deaths; Pasco has 3,193 cases and 27 deaths; Hernando has 659 cases and seven deaths; and Citrus has 457 cases and 13 deaths.

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What’s happening with hospitalizations?

The highest single-day increase in hospitalizations happened May 16 when 400 were recorded. On Tuesday, the state approached that, recording 381 hospitalizations.

Across Florida, about 15 percent of intensive care unit beds and about 20 percent of all hospital beds are available, according to data from the Agency for Health Care Administration.

In the Tampa Bay area, about 9 percent of ICU beds are available. A number of hospitals in the area have no ICU beds free. In Hillsborough, 21 ICU beds were available Wednesday among the county total of 373 beds. In Pinellas, 40 ICU beds were free out of 292. In Manatee, four ICU beds were free out of 70.

Public health experts have said if cases continue to rise and there are no significant changes made, the number of hospitalizations and deaths will continue to increase.

Thirty-one percent of all hospitalizations are people 54 and younger. Though less common, children have also been hospitalized from the virus. Across the state, 183 minors have been hospitalized because of the virus. Three minors have died.

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.

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