Florida passes 5,000 coronavirus deaths, with 90 more reported Saturday

The state also recorded another day of more than 10,000 new coronavirus infections, and 433 hospitalizations.
A Sunstar Ambulance turns the corner for Mease Countryside Hospital Wednesday, July 1, 2020 in Safety Harbor. Tampa Bay could possibly be back on the brink of a possible surge in hospitalizations related to the coronavirus.
A Sunstar Ambulance turns the corner for Mease Countryside Hospital Wednesday, July 1, 2020 in Safety Harbor. Tampa Bay could possibly be back on the brink of a possible surge in hospitalizations related to the coronavirus. [ CHRIS URSO | Times (2020) ]
Published July 18, 2020|Updated July 18, 2020

More than 5,000 people in Florida have now died from the coronavirus. The addition of 90 deaths on Saturday brings the total to 5,002.

The number comes after four consecutive days where coronavirus deaths surpassed 100. The weekly death average decreased slightly, from 101 deaths per day to 100.

The state also recorded 443 additional hospitalizations, one of the largest increases since the pandemic began. Wednesday and Thursday were the only days that recorded higher numbers. That followed a two-week stretch starting early July during which the number of hospitalizations increased day after day. As of Saturday, the average daily hospitalizations for the week had reached 375.

Florida also recorded 10,328 new infections on Saturday. The daily positivity rate was about 12 percent. The number of people who’ve tested positive for coronavirus since March is 337,569.

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

What’s the picture statewide?

The state’s single-day high for coronavirus cases was 15,300 infections six days ago — currently the most a U.S. state has reported on a given day.

Irregular testing has led to Florida having some days of reporting more than 100,000 tests processed, and others with about 50,000 tests processed, according to the Florida Department of Health. On Saturday, the state reported the results of 90,000 tests.

Each day’s report does not reflect only what happened in the previous 24 hours. For example, the state’s 15,300 peak figure included multiple days of results, according to a lab responsible for about half of that day’s positives.

Florida’s weekly average positivity rate is about 18 percent, the second highest of any state, according to Johns Hopkins University. That may mean testing isn’t widespread enough to capture the full scope of how the disease is spreading, according to Johns Hopkins. The World Health Organization’s recommended average is 5 percent.

Florida recently has been struggling with testing. Gov. Ron DeSantis saying he’s disappointed with labs taking a long time to return results.

The median age of people testing positive in the past few days is 41 years old.

When caseloads started surging in mid-June, DeSantis highlighted that it was mainly young people testing positive who are lower risk. But a recent analysis from the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald looked at dozens of times DeSantis has spoken about the virus and showed the governor tends to use data that paints Florida’s situation in the most positive light.

When caseloads started to rise, DeSantis shifted from touting the low number of cases and started talking about the young median age of the positives.

Though the bulk of deaths from coronavirus are people age 65 and older, young people have and continue to be hospitalized and die from the virus, especially if they have existing health issues. In long-term care facilities, about 3 percent of residents and 3 percent of staff have tested positive for the virus, an increase from about 2 percent earlier in the week.

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

At Tampa General Hospital, an emergency room physician said a larger percentage of younger patients are becoming severely ill — part of an overall surge in patients the hospital, along with others in the Tampa Bay area, have seen.

Statewide, about 22 percent of hospital beds and 16 percent of ICU beds are available, according to the Agency for Healthcare Administration. In the Tampa Bay area, about 18 percent of hospital beds and 10 percent of ICU beds are open.

Nearly 9,000 people across the state are in the hospital with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus, excluding people who are in the hospital with the virus but who were admitted for other reasons. Just over 1,500 of those in the hospital because of coronavirus are in the Tampa Bay area, according to the Agency for Healthcare Administration.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay area added 25 coronavirus deaths and 1,488 cases Saturday. The bulk of cases were in Hillsborough, which has the fourth-most infections of any Florida county.

Twelve of the day’s announced deaths were in Polk, 10 were in Pinellas, two in Pasco and one in Hillsborough.

The deaths included a 95-year-old woman in Hillsborough and people ranging in age from 48 to 93 in Pinellas and 68 to 92 in Polk.

Though Hillsborough leads the region in infections, Pinellas has the most deaths in the Tampa Bay area, largely because of mass outbreaks within nursing homes. About 70 percent of deaths in Pinellas are tied to long-term care facilities. Only Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County have seen more deaths in long-term care facilities, and both counties have significantly more infections.

About 9 percent of Pinellas coronavirus cases result in hospitalization, where statewide only about 6 percent of cases result in hospitalization.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 23,103 cases and 237 deaths; Pinellas has 13,019 cases and 312 deaths; Polk has 9,030 cases and 175 deaths; Manatee has 6,280 cases and 145 deaths; Pasco has 4,769 cases and 43 deaths; Hernando has 1,110 cases and 14 deaths; and Citrus has 766 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 the latest on children and coronavirus?

As questions about the school year amid coronavirus get more and more pressing, DeSantis has said children don’t pass along the virus to adults, citing scientific studies.

But the research isn’t conclusive because it’s still so new, according to a PolitiFact analysis. Teachers and parents have protested in-person schools reopening, while some school leaders have suggested delaying the start of the school year so they can make sure all the needed supplies to keep schools hygienic and distanced are ready.

Though it’s rare for children to die from coronavirus, they can catch it — and thousands have, according to the Florida Department of Health’s latest pediatric report.

Across the state, more than 23,000 people age 17 and younger have had the virus, resulting in 246 hospitalizations, about one percent of all admissions statewide, and four deaths.

The two youngest deaths were 11-year-olds in Broward and Miami-Dade County, both who had health problems.

Statewide, 173,520 children have been tested for the virus, with about 13 percent of the results coming back positive.

In rare cases, coronavirus may be linked to an disease called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many children with the illness had coronavirus.

In Florida, 14 children have the illness, with the youngest a 1-year-old in Miami-Dade and the oldest a 17-year-old in Collier County.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.

LATEST ON CORONAVIRUS: Six things we’ve learned about the coronavirus since March.

MASK UPDATE: Find out where you have to wear a mask in Tampa Bay

FILING TAXES?: What to know about the July 15 tax deadline

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.

THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.