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Florida eclipses 6,000 coronavirus deaths in latest report

The daily update reported 77 deaths tied to the virus and 8,892 infections, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 432,747.

TAMPA — More than 6,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the state of Florida, health officials announced Monday.

The daily update from the state Department of Health added 77 deaths to the tally of lives lost since the start of Florida’s coronavirus outbreak March 1. It also removed one Pasco County resident from the list of deaths attributed to COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the virus. The state’s death toll is 6,049.

The number of cases reported Monday was 8,892, bringing the state total to 432,747.

With Florida’s population about 21.5 million, that means roughly one in 50 people in the state have tested positive for the virus.

Monday was the first time since July 8 that officials reported fewer than 9,000 cases in a day. It was the third consecutive day the positivity rate was about 11 percent.

Health officials caution, though, that Sunday and Monday reports frequently show a dip in infections, hospitalizations and deaths because fewer health officials work weekends. The 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.

Still, this weekend’s reports saw Florida overtake New York to become the state with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the United States.

Only California, with a population nearly twice as high as Florida’s, has more cases.

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

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What’s the picture statewide?

In considering how the virus is spreading, and whether it’s safe for Florida to roll back restrictions, health experts often look to data like the number of patients hospitalized with the virus at any given time and the percentage of the population testing positive each day.

The state just ended its worst week to date, from Sunday to Sunday, with 970 deaths and 3,452 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The week prior, from July 12 to July 19, saw 758 deaths and 3,021 hospitalizations.

The latest positivity rate released by the Department of Health remained at about 11.4 percent, a slight increase over Sunday but still low enough to make Monday the ninth day in a row where the rate remained below 15 percent.

In May, though, the statewide positivity rate was about 5 percent. The state’s goal is to reach a positivity rate no higher than 10 percent before moving forward with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ phased reopening plan.

Since the start of the pandemic, state health officials have performed 4. 4 million tests for the virus on 3.4 million individuals, the Health Department said.

The state reported 88,814 first-time tests Monday, fewer than the 94,768 reported Sunday and the 120,679 reported Saturday.

DeSantis has praised the stabilizing positivity rate as a sign the virus’ spread could be slowing. He’s also pointed to the rate of hospitalization. Florida has seen a faster turnover in recent days.

The state reported 268 hospitalizations Monday, bringing the total to 24,332 since the pandemic began. The state Agency for Health Care Administration reported Monday that 9,034 people were hospitalized in Florida for coronavirus.

The virus has infected nearly 16.3 million people worldwide and killed 649,662, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. The United States has 4.24 million coronavirus cases and the highest fatality rates in the world. The number of people who have died from coronavirus here was 146,968 as of Monday. Next-highest in deaths is Brazil, with just over 87,000, and the United Kingdom with over 45,000.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

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What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

Since March 1, the greater Tampa Bay region accounts for about 16.4 percent of Florida’s coronavirus caseload and 19.4 percent of coronavirus deaths, records show. That’s below the region’s share of the state population, about 21 percent.

The seven counties that make up the Tampa Bay area reported 1,178 cases on Monday and 13 deaths tied to COVID-19. Five of those deaths occurred in Pinellas County, records show, with three each in Polk County and Hillsborough County and two in Manatee.

Hillsborough County saw its caseload grow to 27,483 — an increase of 406 Monday. The county now reports 302 deaths since Florida’s coronavirus outbreak began on March 1. By noon on Monday, Hillsborough County’s hospitals were treating 518 coronavirus patients and hospitals in Pinellas County treating 428.

Pasco County’s overall death toll dropped from 70 to 69 after one death was reclassified. State health officials have said death counts can fluctuate because investigations into someone’s cause of death are ongoing.

Elsewhere in the area, Citrus County reported 1,102 cases and 20 deaths; Hernando County reported 1,490 cases and 23 deaths; Manatee reported 7,982 cases and 158 deaths; Pasco reported 5,911 cases and 69 deaths; Pinellas reported 15,339 cases and 380 deaths; and Polk County reported 11,717 cases and 211 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.

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What’s the picture for Florida’s children?

Students across the state are preparing to return to the classroom in less than a month even as state data shows a surge in cases and hospitalizations among children.

On July 16, Florida reported 23,170 cases among children since March, but by Friday — eight days later — the number grew to 31,150.

Also on July 16, the last time state health officials separated out child health data for the public, 246 children had been hospitalized with the coronavirus. On Friday, the figure was 303.

The positivity rate among children is going up to, state records show. On July 16, 13.4 percent of children tested for the virus were found positive. On Friday, the rate was 14.4 percent.

The numbers were enough to persuade Hillsborough County’s school district to push back the first day of school two weeks to Aug. 24. Pinellas County’s school district is expected to vote on a similar measure this week.

Nearly 25 percent of Hillsborough County’s coronavirus cases are among those 24 years old or younger, state data shows. Roughly 6 percent of all patients are 14 or younger. Children and young adults under 24 account for about 19 percent of all coronavirus cases in Pinellas County.

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

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