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Florida adds 149 coronavirus deaths, more than 6,000 cases Thursday

The state also logged nearly 600 hospital admissions.

Florida added 149 new coronavirus deaths Thursday, bringing the total recorded since the pandemic began to 9,047 people, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The state also added 6,236 new infections. Since the first coronavirus patient was identified in Florida in March, the state has recorded 557,137 cases. It’s unclear how many have recovered because the Florida Department of Health doesn’t release that information.

Thursday’s announced deaths brought the weekly death average up to 168 people dead per day. Hospital admissions due to COVID-19 also increased by 598.

The Tampa Bay area added 745 coronavirus cases and 29 deaths Thursday.

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

What’s the picture statewide?

Florida’s death average peaked on Aug. 5 at 185 people per day and has been steadily declining ever since.

Other states that have had more deaths per capita hit their peak much earlier than Florida. When looking at the total number of deaths, Florida ranks 17th in the state. It was 8th in the days leading up to the Aug. 5 peak.

As of Thursday, 6,500 people in Florida are hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration. About 1,000 of those are in the Tampa Bay area. That number has been declining since mid-July. The state only began releasing the hospital information in early July.

About 23 percent of hospital beds and 18 percent of intensive care unit beds are available statewide. In Tampa Bay, about 19 percent of hospital beds and 16 percent of ICU beds are available.

Florida’s average positivity rate, or the percentage of positive results among all tests processed, is 18 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University. The World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate of 5 percent or lower for a sustained two-week period before loosening social distancing restrictions.

When the positivity rate is too high, it indicates there isn’t enough testing being done to capture true disease spread in a community. A higher rate may indicate only the sickest people have access to testing, while asymptomatic people do not.

Florida’s testing overall has been irregular. Results fluctuate with some days reporting more than 100,000 tests processed and other days reporting fewer than 60,000.

On Wednesday, the health department said in a tweet that one lab had unloaded weeks worth of cases, skewing the day’s results and particularly Miami-Dade’s results. Gov. Ron DeSantis spokesman Fred Piccolo Jr. tweeted that it was “another reason to look at date of infection/fatality rather than the date the data was submitted.”

On Thursday, the health department’s daily report had new tables showing deaths by date of death and deaths by the date they were reported. The state also removed the designation for change in deaths since the previous report.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

Tampa Bay added 745 coronavirus cases and 29 deaths Thursday, with about half the total deaths coming from Pinellas County.

Pinellas County has one of the highest death rates of any Florida County at 2.9 percent. Thursday, the county added another 14 deaths. About 69 percent of all Pinellas deaths have been tied to long-term care facilities.

Polk added nine, Pasco added five, and Hillsborough added one new death. The deaths ranged in age from 58- to 94-years-old.

Despite having the highest death rate, Pinellas currently has the lowest average positivity rate in the region at 5 percent. Manatee and Pasco counties average a 6 percent positivity, while Hillsborough is 7 percent and Polk is 10 percent.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 33,428 cases and 432 deaths; Pinellas has 18,329 cases and 538 deaths; Polk has 14,992 cases and 344 deaths; Manatee has 9,554 cases and 244 deaths; Pasco has 7,283 cases and 142 deaths; Hernando has 2,124 cases and 54 deaths; and Citrus has 1,663 cases and 38 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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