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Florida sets coronavirus hospitalization record and adds another 92 deaths

The state also added more than 11,000 cases, close to the single-day high.
Britany Berrian, of Largo, places a label on a vial containing a used COVID-19 viral test on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at Community Health Centers of Pinellas, 707 East Druid Road, in Clearwater where Pinellas County began COVID-19 testing on Monday. More than 400 tests were administered at the Clearwater location on Wednesday. Three testing sites, in Clearwater, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg are open M-F, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Those seeking testing can call (727) 824-8181 to make an appointment for the drive through.
Britany Berrian, of Largo, places a label on a vial containing a used COVID-19 viral test on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at Community Health Centers of Pinellas, 707 East Druid Road, in Clearwater where Pinellas County began COVID-19 testing on Monday. More than 400 tests were administered at the Clearwater location on Wednesday. Three testing sites, in Clearwater, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg are open M-F, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Those seeking testing can call (727) 824-8181 to make an appointment for the drive through. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jul. 10, 2020
Updated Jul. 10, 2020

One day after seeing an all-time high of coronavirus hospitalizations over 24 hours, Florida surpassed the record, with 437 people recorded Friday.

The state recorded an additional 92 deaths. Across the state, 4,203 people have died from the virus. The weekly death average is up to nearly 60 a day, the highest since May 5. The Florida Department of Health removed one person who had been marked as a non-resident death, though an explanation wasn’t available.

One of the deaths recorded was someone between the ages of 15 and 24, the 10th person in that age group to die from the virus in Florida.

The Department of Health noted 11,433 new infections statewide, 25 cases short of the peak high on Saturday. Since the first recorded case in March, 244,151 people in Florida have been infected.

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

What’s the picture statewide?

Florida’s average of coronavirus tests coming back positive continues to trend up, standing at nearly 20 percent on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. It’s the second-highest of any state, following Arizona.

Statewide, about 2.4 million people have been tested. The median age of new cases ticked slightly upward Friday, hitting 40. A few weeks ago the median age of new cases was in the low 30s.

Of the total infections, 17,916 people, or about 7 percent, have had to be hospitalized. As of Friday morning, about 15 percent of ICU beds and 20 percent of hospital beds were available statewide, according to the Agency for Healthcare Administration.

Reported hospitalizations lag behind cases by two to three weeks, which lag behind the point of infection by a few weeks, public health experts have said. Deaths lag behind hospitalizations.

It’s why the surge in hospitalizations and deaths didn’t surprise Dr. Marissa Levine, a professor of public health and family medicine at the University of South Florida. She said the effects seen now are likely tied to around just after Memorial Day.

With a high percentage of tests coming back positive, Levine said the numbers will continue to go upward.

States that have done a good job of getting the virus under control have consistently tested at or below 10 percent for positivity, Levine said. States that have done an exceptional job have around 3 to 5 percent positivity, she said.

“We’re probably not doing enough testing as we need to do to make sure we’re finding all of the disease,” Levine said. “The country is seeing the whole testing and lab capability being stretched right now.”

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay area added 2,352 cases and seven deaths, a sharp dropoff from Thursday’s 40 recorded deaths.

Nearly 1,000 of the new cases were in Hillsborough, which has the fourth-highest amount of infections of any Florida county.

Three of the deaths recorded were in Hillsborough, and Pinellas and Polk both recorded two deaths each.

The deaths in Hillsborough include an 88-year-old man and women who were 66, 78 and 82; in Pinellas, women who were 83 and 90; and in Polk, men who were 68 and 82.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 17,662 cases and 189 deaths; Pinellas has 10,293 cases and 225 deaths; Polk has 6,611 cases and 130 deaths; Manatee has 4,432 cases and 140 deaths; Pasco has 3,559 cases and 28 deaths; Hernando has 766 cases and seven deaths; and Citrus has 500 cases and 13 deaths.

What’s happening in hospitals?

Across the state, about 15 percent of ICU beds are available. In the Tampa Bay area, about 10 percent of ICU beds stand ready.

To keep space free, some hospital networks have announced they’re rolling back elective surgeries. BayCare said Friday it would reduce the number of non-urgent surgeries at Morton Plant North Bay in Pasco County. Earlier, BayCare and HCA announced they’d stop elective surgeries in Pinellas County.

On Friday, Morton Plant North Bay had one ICU bed free out of the total 22, according to the Agency for Healthcare Administration.

A number of other hospitals in the area had either no ICU beds free or only a handful, including Mease Dunedin Hospital, Northside Hospital, Largo Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital South.

Lakeland Regional Medical Center, which normally has 77 ICU beds, had none free as of Friday.

Friday afternoon, the Agency for Healthcare Administration released data showing how many current hospitalizations there are statewide with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus. Statewide there are 6,784 people in the hospital with the virus, according to the data. Miami-Dade County has the highest amount, with 1,388 people hospitalized.

The Tampa Bay area has 793 people currently in the hospital for it, with the most in Hillsborough at 210 people and the second-most in Pinellas with 201 people.

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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