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6-year-old Hillsborough girl youngest to die from coronavirus in Florida, state says

The state recorded another 4,684 coronavirus infections Friday.

A 6-year-old girl from Hillsborough County is now the youngest person to die of the coronavirus in Florida.

The girl is one of 118 deaths the state added Friday, according to the Florida Department of Health, bringing the overall death toll from the virus to 10,304 people.

Eight children have died from COVID-19 across Florida since the pandemic began, including a 9-year-old, two 11-year-olds, two 16-year-olds and two 17-year-olds.

On Friday Florida added 4,684 more positive cases of the virus. The state has logged 593,286 infections since the first coronavirus patients were identified nearly six months ago. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 increased by 355 admissions.

The Tampa Bay area recorded 683 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths Friday.

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

What’s the picture statewide?

The number of people in Florida’s hospitals with coronavirus has steadily declined since mid-July, according to data from the Agency for Health Care Administration.

As of Friday, about 5,000 people were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus. About 750 of those patients were in Tampa Bay.

About 23 percent of hospital beds and 19 percent of intensive care unit beds were available across Florida. In Tampa Bay, about 20 percent of hospital beds and 16 percent of ICU beds were open.

The declining number of people in Florida hospitals could mean less disease transmission in the community and fewer deaths in the weeks to come.

Florida’s weekly death average peaked on Aug. 5, with about 185 people announced dead per day. Of the state’s more than 10,000 deaths, nearly 5,000 came over the course of just one month. The death average as of Friday was 145 people announced dead per day.

Public health experts say the state of Florida’s coronavirus outbreak has improved since July, but is still in a tenuous spot with a long way to go.

Positive cases have fallen over the past month, reaching levels closer to what the state was seeing in late June, before cases began to skyrocket. Testing has also declined.

CVS Health opened 77 additional drive-through testing sites in Florida on Friday, and expects most results will come back within two to five days, according to the company.

Florida’s average positivity rate was about 15 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Florida Department of Health uses a different method which counts negative retests but not positive retests to calculate its positivity rate. According to the health department, the positivity rate for the week is 7 percent.

The World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate of 5 percent or lower for 14 days before loosening social distancing restrictions. When the positivity rate is too high, it indicates testing likely isn’t widespread enough testing to capture mild and asymptomatic cases among the population.

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

Tampa Bay recorded 683 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths Friday.

Seven deaths were in Hillsborough, four were in Pinellas, three in Polk, two in Pasco and one in Manatee.

The young girl who died was treated at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, according to a Hillsborough County spokeswoman. The girls identity was not made public.

Besides the 6-year-old Hillsborough girl, most deaths ranged between 55- and 99-years-old. A 38-year-old Polk woman also died.

In Hillsborough County, only three people under the age of 35 have died from the virus. Young deaths are less common than in older people, but happen more often among those with chronic health issues like diabetes, obesity or heart problems.

Hillsborough’s death average, 1.5 percent, is lower than other counties in the area. Pinellas has a death rate of 3.1 percent, which is higher than most counties in Florida.

The positivity rate in the region remained consistent Friday, with Polk leading with a weekly average of 8 percent. Hillsborough’s weekly positivity rate was 7 percent, while Manatee had 5 percent and Pinellas and Pasco had about 4 percent.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 35,293 cases and 524 deaths; Pinellas has 19,247 cases and 593 deaths; Polk has 16,015 cases and 401 deaths; Manatee has 10,059 cases and 250 deaths; Pasco has 7,651 cases and 158 deaths; Hernando has 2,396 cases and 70 deaths; and Citrus has 1,908 cases and 46 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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