TAMPA — In the last 24 hours, Florida’s Department of Health reported 14 more deaths tied to the novel coronavirus and 2,583 newly identified cases.
That daily death toll is the lowest in Florida since June 22, when only 12 deaths were reported in a single day. But that was also the day the number of infections in Florida surpassed 100,000 in the midst of a summer surge of infections, followed by a spike in deaths, that positioned Florida as the latest U.S. hotspot for the coronavirus and resulting respiratory infection, called COVID-19.
On Saturday, for example, the state added 150 coronavirus-related deaths to its overall total, and last Sunday, on August 23, Florida reported 51 fatalities tied to the virus.
State health officials have cautioned that these daily counts are frequently below average on Sundays and Mondays because not all hospitals and health officials work over the weekends.
Sunday’s update brings the total number of coronavirus infections being tracked by the state to 621,586 and the total number of fatalities tied to the virus to 11,263 in the last 6 months, since Florida’s first cases were announced on March 1.
Positivity: In the past month, Florida has seen a dramatic decline in the coronavirus’ positivity rate: the percentage of tests that come back positive for the virus out of all tests processed. But that figure also reflects an overall decrease in the volume of testing conducted by the state, and has been used by health officials to gauge whether enough tests are being performed to capture mild and asymptomatic infections within a community.
The health department’s daily report showed 5.14 percent of 60,074 test results returned from labs in the last 24 hours were positive for coronavirus. That made Sunday the 15th consecutive day Florida posted a single-digit positivity rate.
That’s well below the state’s goal – to reach a positivity rate no higher than 10 percent – before moving forward with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ phased reopening plan.
The state’s average weekly positivity rate was about 12.3 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Florida Department of Health calculates the positivity rate differently by counting negative retests but not positive retests. Based on their metrics, the average weekly positivity is 6 percent.
Hospitalizations: By about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, the Agency for Health Care Administration reported 3,804 people diagnosed with COVID-19 were being actively treated in Florida’s hospitals. A majority of those patients — just over 30 percent — were located in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, records show.
In the seven counties that comprise the Tampa Bay region, hospitals were treating 589 patients with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus on Sunday — about 15 percent of all active COVID-19 admissions in the state.
About 27 percent of Florida’s hospital beds and 23.5 percent of intensive care unit beds were available. In Tampa Bay hospitals, about 25 percent of all patient beds and 21 percent of all ICU beds were open on Sunday.
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Florida reported 96 new hospitalizations on Sunday for the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus. Since the outbreak began, Florida hospitals have admitted 38,857 patients for treatment of COVID-19.
Local Numbers: The seven counties that make up the Tampa Bay area reported 513 cases on Sunday and three deaths tied to COVID-19.
Two of those deaths occurred in Hillsborough County: an 81-year-old male and an 86-year-old female. The third local fatality came out of Pasco County, which reported the death of a 64-year-old man.
Hillsborough County saw the largest increase in cases over a 24-hour period, with 229 new infections reported on Sunday. That brings the county’s total caseload to 37,013 and fatalities to 552.
Elsewhere in the area, Citrus County reported 2,082 cases and 57 deaths since the coronavirus outbreak began in March; Hernando County reported 2,601 cases and 84 deaths; Manatee reported 10,418 cases and 260 deaths; Pasco reported 8,028 cases and 175 deaths; Pinellas reported 19,888 cases and 652 deaths; and Polk County reported 16,894 cases and 445 deaths.
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How fast is the number of Florida COVID-19 cases growing?
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Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?
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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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