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Florida adds 2,678 coronavirus cases Monday, the lowest count since June

The total number of cases since the state of the pandemic has risen to 576,094.
For use with daily coronavirus numbers.
For use with daily coronavirus numbers. [ Times ]
Published Aug. 17, 2020
Updated Aug. 17, 2020

Florida added 2,678 new coronavirus infections and 87 new deaths on Monday — the largest daily dip in both metrics in two months.

Gov. Ron DeSantis celebrated the decrease in numbers during a press conference in Panama City Beach Monday morning, saying they have “been trending in the right direction for many weeks now” and that he expects that to continue.

The number of patients hospitalized with the virus has declined by nearly 40 percent in recent weeks, the governor said. Those ending up in intensive care units at hospitals has declined by nearly 30 percent.

“Whether people are showing up at the (emergency department) or not, that’s just a fact,” DeSantis said. “If people are showing up in higher numbers, there’s more prevalence. When they’re showing up in much lower numbers, that’s a sign that the prevalence is abated.”

In the six months since the pandemic’s start, Florida has reached 576,094 total infections. About 9,539 people in the state have died from the virus.

Over the previous 24 hours, 39,158 coronavirus tests were processed by the Florida Department of Health. About 8 percent of new cases tested positive.

The greater Tampa Bay area reported 401 new infections and 19 new deaths.

What’s the picture statewide?

The Department of Health calculates the state’s positivity rate, or the percentage of all positive results among tests processed, at 13 percent. But Johns Hopkins University says Florida’s positivity rate is 16.4 percent.

Both are well above the World Health Organization’s recommendation of a sustained 5 percent for two weeks before loosening social distancing restrictions.

There were 5,654 people in Florida hospitals with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus as of Monday, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

DeSantis has consistently said looking at hospital admissions is a strong metric for understanding the level of disease in a community, compared with the positivity rate or other metrics he highlighted earlier.

Across Florida, 26 percent of hospital beds and 22 percent of intensive care unit beds are available, according to the Agency For Health Care Administration. In Tampa Bay, about 22 percent of hospital beds and 18 percent of ICU beds are available.

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay region added 401 new infections and 19 new deaths on Monday.

There were eight in Pinellas County, which has one of the highest death rates of any Florida county. About 69 percent of deaths in Pinellas are tied to long-term care facilities.

There were four new deaths in Hillsborough County, three in Pasco and two in Polk. They were men and women, ages 55 to 92.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 34,368 cases and 487 deaths; Pinellas has 18,774 cases and 558 deaths; Polk has 15,506 cases and 360 deaths; Manatee has 9,843 cases and 245 deaths; Pasco has 7,490 cases and 152 deaths; Hernando has 2,255 cases and 60 deaths; and Citrus has 1,799 cases and 40 deaths.

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