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For fifth day in a row, Florida logs more than 10,000 coronavirus cases

The state has reported 350,047 cases and 5,091 coronavirus-related deaths since March 1.

TAMPA — Another 12,478 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida, health officials said, making Sunday the fifth consecutive day Florida’s number of known cases has grown by more than 10,000.

The daily update brings the total number of cases in Florida to 350,047 since the first cases were made public March 1. The statewide death toll was 5,091 — an increase of 89 deaths from the virus over 24 hours, the report said.

The high numbers come on a day when deaths worldwide passed the 600,000 mark as countries from the U.S. to South Africa to India struggle to contain infections. Hong Kong warned of a resurgence in the virus as it issued tougher rules on face masks.

More than 80,000 Florida cases, about 23 percent of the state total, have been reported in the past seven days. The virus’ spread through Florida has attracted worldwide attention, with health authorities calling the state a hot spot for the pandemic. Florida recorded more cases in one day than any other state, with more than 15,000 July 12.

Coronavirus data released each day by the Department of Health does not necessarily show what occurred during the previous 24 hours. For example, the record case numbers reported July 12 appeared to include several days of test results from a single laboratory, according to information provided by the lab.

The Department of Health released Sunday’s numbers just as Fox News aired an interview with President Donald Trump on the rise in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths across southern and western states.

Trump doubled down on his assertion that health authorities are stamping out the “embers” of the virus in some states, but he added a qualifier for Florida.

“We have embers, and we do have flames,” the president said. “Florida became more flame-like, but it’s, it’s going to be under control.”

Johns Hopkins University reported Sunday that there have been more than 3.7 million coronavirus cases in the United States and at least 140,119 deaths.

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

• • •

What’s the picture statewide?

Florida’s hospitals have treated nearly 21,000 patients for COVID-19 since March 1, according to the Sunday report. The state Agency for Health Care Administration said 9,235 patients are being treated for the virus in Florida hospitals — more than 2,000 of them in Miami-Dade county.

Miami-Dade reported 3,212 cases and 28 coronavirus-related deaths Sunday, accounting for almost a third of all Florida deaths reported that day. Sunday’s update brings the total number of infections in Miami-Dade to 84,238 - roughly 24 percent of all known coronavirus infections in Florida since the start of the pandemic.

Broward County has the second highest total caseload — about 11 percent of the state’s overall total — with 39,281 infections. Palm Beach has the third-highest caseload with 23,706 infections.

The share of people testing positive for coronavirus is falling. The 105,681 tests reported Sunday had a positivity rate of 12 percent. That compares with nearly 20 percent earlier this month.

For the third day in a row Sunday, the median age of Florida’s new coronavirus cases was 41 — older than on any day for the past month. The median age of those becoming infected began to decline from the mid-50s near the end of April to the early 30s through May.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

• • •

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The seven counties that make up the Tampa Bay region account for just over 60,000 cases and 950 deaths.

On Sunday, Hillsborough County added 603 cases to its total, now at 23,706. There have been 238 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the county, one of them an 89-year-old woman reported on Sunday.

Sunday’s increase makes Hillsborough County’s overall caseload the fourth-highest in all of Florida’s 67 counties.

For weeks, Tampa has posted the third-highest caseload in the state. But according to Sunday’s report, Tampa’s caseload of 14,459 positive residents has dropped the city down to fourth place behind Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville, which topped Tampa by 737 cases.

Pinellas County also saw a surge in positive cases, with 463 reported Sunday, bringing the county’s total to 13,482. Four deaths were reported in Pinellas County on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 316. They include an 80-year-old woman, an 81-year-old woman and two 89-year-old men, according to the health department.

Elsewhere in the Tampa Bay region, Pasco County has reported a total of 4,943 cases and 45 deaths. Two of those deaths were reported on Sunday — a 76-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman, according to the state health department.

Citrus County has reported 796 infections and 17 deaths; Hernando has reported 1,179 cases and 14 deaths; Manatee has reported 6,569 cases and 145 deaths; and Polk has reported 9,524 cases and 175 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 prisons and coronavirus?

In the past four weeks, the number of Florida prison workers testing positive for COVID-19 has nearly tripled to 1,065, according to Sunday’s report from the Department of Health. About 300 of those employees were diagnosed in the past week, records show.

The highly contagious respiratory disease has infected at least 3,647 inmates. According to the state Health Department, 32 inmates have died from the virus.

At Columbia Correctional Institution in rural north Florida, the number of inmates testing positive for COVID-19 exploded over the past week to 455 by Sunday. The previous Sunday, on July 12, the prison reported only 30 inmates had tested positive for the virus.

The state Department of Corrections has yet to explain what caused the virus to grow so rapidly but data show that hundreds of inmates were tested at Columbia the week before numbers began to climb.

Also, 28 workers ––– including corrections officers, nurses, food service workers, administrative staff and other personnel ––– have tested positive for the disease. It is unclear how many staff members at Columbia have been tested because the department does not disclose that information.

According to Sunday’s numbers, the state has tested 35,271 inmates since the pandemic began, with 6,064 results still pending.

The surge of cases has also created significant staffing shortages in some of Florida’s hardest-hit lockups, according to the Department of Corrections. As a result, staff began executing emergency plans at Dade Correctional Institution and Jefferson Correctional Institution on Thursday.

By Sunday evening, Dade Correctional had reported 107 staffers testing positive for coronavirus and 55 inmates, while Jefferson Correctional reported 27 staffers and three inmates diagnosed with the virus.

The Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday that the state’s moratorium on visitations will be extended another month, until Aug. 17 at the earliest.

“Inmates will continue to have access to their loved ones through mail, phone calls and video visitation,” the department said in a written statement. “Legal visits will not be impacted, although attorneys are encouraged to consult with their clients via phone, email or mail during this time.”

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