One day after Florida reported a record number of coronavirus deaths, another 100 deaths were reported from the disease Wednesday.
The Florida Department of Health announced 112 coronavirus deaths, bringing total deaths from the pandemic in the state to 4,626 people. The weekly death average rose from about 82 people per day to about 91.
There was a record increase in hospitalizations reported Wednesday with 458 new admissions. The previous high was 437 admissions, on Friday. Since March, there have been 19,659 hospitalizations because of the virus.
New cases of coronavirus went up by 10,181 Wednesday, bringing the total to 301,810 since March. The number of people testing positive for the virus in Wednesday’s report was 14 percent and the average weekly figure was about 19 percent.
The coronavirus data released each day by the Department of Health does not necessarily show what occurred during the previous 24 hours. For example, a recent figure on the number of tests conducted included several days of results.
How fast is the number of Florida COVID-19 cases growing?
What’s the picture statewide?
More than 2.7 million people across Florida have been tested for coronavirus, with the median age about 41 among those reported Wednesday as testing positive.
In a Tuesday meeting with local mayors in Miami-Dade County, Gov. Ron DeSantis heard that they needed more information and more help.
It was the first time DeSantis wore a mask at a media event since the pandemic began.
DeSantis’s spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferre, tweeted that though Florida’s coronavirus cases and hospitalizations were “higher than we would like,” it seems like they had reached a plateau.
Florida’s average number of new cases has risen week by week since mid-June. Average weekly positivity rates have held steady at around 19 percent in July, according to Johns Hopkins University — well beyond the 5 percent recommended by World Health Organization for reopening communities.
Deaths and hospitalizations lag behind a rise in cases, according to public health experts. Florida’s high number of cases and high positivity rate indicate continued community spread so deaths will likely rise, said Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“The fact that you’ve got such a high positivity rate in Florida coupled with the hospitalizations and increasing deaths, those measures all taken together suggest that this situation in Florida is definitely still moving in the wrong direction.”
The greatest increase in hospitalizations was among people 75 to 84.
Across Florida, about 16 percent of intensive care unit beds and 21 percent of all hospital beds are available. More than 8,300 people are currently in the hospital with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus, according to the Agency for Healthcare Administration. That number excludes people in the hospital with coronavirus who were admitted for other reasons.
In the Tampa Bay area, about 11 percent of ICU beds and 17 percent of all hospital beds are open. Across the seven counties in the region, 965 people are hospitalized with coronavirus.
Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?
What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?
The Tampa Bay area recorded 1,568 additional infections and 26 deaths on Wednesday, with Pinellas County again recording the highest number of deaths.
On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported 26 new deaths in Pinellas. On Wednesday, Pinellas recorded 16 deaths, with Polk recording four, Hillsborough three, Pasco two and Citrus one.
Hillsborough has nearly double the number of coronavirus cases that Pinellas does, but Pinellas leads the Tampa Bay area in deaths.
About 70 percent of Pinellas’s deaths and 13 percent of coronavirus cases have come from long-term care facilities Across the state, 6 percent of all cases and about half of all deaths have come from long-term care facilities.
The new deaths include: in Citrus, an 80-year-old woman; in Hillsborough, a 64-year-old woman and two 61-year-old men; in Pasco, a 38-year-old woman and a 73-year-old man; in Pinellas, men age 62, 67, 76, 80, 81, 85 and 86, and women age 51, 5-, 62, 64, 76, 79, 88, 96 and 97; and in Polk, women age 39, 80, 81 and 90.
As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 21,018 cases and 195 deaths, Pinellas has 12,080 cases and 280 deaths, Polk has 8,206 cases and 156 deaths, Manatee has 5,564 cases and 141 deaths, Pasco has 4,363 cases and 37 deaths, Hernando has 987 cases and 11 deaths, and Citrus has 665 cases and 17 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 happening with antibodies?
Scientists warn that antibody test results can be inaccurate and aren’t helpful in making coronavirus decisions, but the Florida Department of Health tracks the test results. They’re believed to be a way to see if someone has been already infected with the virus.
In the latest antibody report, issued on July 10, the state said 12,002 people out of 297,009 people tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
The most positive results came back for people between 45 and 64.
Quest Diagnostics in Tampa has processed the bulk of antibody tests, running about 58 percent of all the tests taken.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibodies would begin to develop about one to three weeks after someone is infected with the virus. The tests can produce false positives and false negatives, which is why scientists are often wary of them.
The CDC advises that antibody test results shouldn’t be used to determine whether someone can go to work again.
The counties with the highest number of positive antibody results closely mirror the counties that have had the most reported coronavirus cases, led by South Florida.
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