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Florida adds 7,650 new coronavirus cases, 120 deaths Thursday

The number of tests processed spiked after a lull earlier in the week.

Florida added 7,650 coronavirus infections Thursday as testing bounced back after Hurricane Isaias, according to the Florida Department of Health.

More than 104,000 tests were recorded on Thursday. The positivity rate, or the percentage of positive results among all tests processed, was 8 percent. The median age of new cases inched up slightly to 43-years-old. A total of 510,389 infections have been recorded in Florida since March.

Deaths increased by 120 people Thursday, bringing the death tool to 7,871 in Florida since the pandemic began. The weekly death average declined to 166 people announced dead per day. The Tampa Bay area added 1,083 new infections and 16 deaths Thursday.

Hospitalizations increased by 559 admissions.

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

What’s the picture statewide?

Across Florida, 7,600 people are in the hospital with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus as of Thursday, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration. About 1,300 are in Tampa Bay.

Though the state saw a record-high spike in hospitalizations Tuesday, the overall number of hospitalizations has declined over the past few weeks. If that continues, it could mean fewer deaths in the future, health experts say.

Florida’s record for deaths announced in a single day was logged on Friday, with 257. Seven children have died from COVID-19, according to the health department. The youngest was a 9-years-old girl from Putnam County.

About 23 percent of hospital beds and 16 percent of intensive care unit beds were available statewide Thursday. In Tampa Bay, about 18 percent of hospital beds and 10 percent of ICU beds were available.

Several large area hospitals have no or few ICU beds open, according to ACHA. That includes Tampa General Hospital, which has the most ICU beds in the region, AdventHealth Tampa, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, and Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

Tampa Bay hospitals started experiencing a surge in COVID-19 admissions in mid-July. In Miami-Dade, the county hit hardest by the virus, admissions have plateaued at the two largest hospital systems in recent weeks, according to the Miami Herald.

The number of new infections has dropped over the past few days, but that could be related to the decrease in testing over the last week. State-run testing facilities closed in multiple Florida counties last week due to Hurricane Isaias. The amount of testing done a day dropped from 90,000-100,000 to around 60,000, according to the health department.

Florida’s average positivity rate is still around 18 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University. A high positivity rate can mean testing isn’t widespread enough to capture the true spread of disease in a community. Florida has the fourth highest positivity rate of any U.S. state.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he believes hospitalizations are the best metric to understand the spread of coronavirus in the community instead of positivity.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

Tampa Bay added 1,083 cases and 16 deaths Thursday.

Polk County reported the most deaths with six announced. Hernando added four, Pinellas and Citrus added two each, and both Hillsborough and Manatee counties added one.

Those who died ranged in age from 63- to 97-years-old.

The weekly average positivity rate across the region also dropped some. Pinellas County was the lowest at 6 percent. Polk was the highest at 11 percent. Hillsborough’s average is about 9 percent, and Manatee and Pasco both are around 7 percent.

On Thursday Pinellas County had one of its lowest single-day percentage of positive tests yet, with 3.7 percent of about 4,200 tests coming back positive.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 31,563 cases and 383 deaths; Pinellas has 17,358 cases and 471 deaths; Polk has 13,654 cases and 305 deaths; Manatee has 9,050 cases and 191 deaths; Pasco has 6,802 cases and 105 deaths; Hernando has 1,906 cases and 43 deaths; and Citrus has 1,429 cases and 36 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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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

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