On the first day back in business for Florida’s bars and breweries, Monday’s update from the Department of Health showed the increase in coronavirus infections continues to slow each day across Florida.
In the last 24 hours, state health officials logged 1,736 new coronavirus infections — the smallest daily increase since June 11. The number of deaths tied to the virus, though, increased Monday by 36. Eight deaths were reported Sunday.
Since March 1, the day the first coronavirus cases in the state were made public, health officials have counted 665,730 infections and 12,800 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.
This means that roughly 1 in every 31 people in Florida has now tested positive for the virus, records show. The state is averaging 111 coronavirus-related deaths per day, up from Sunday’s weekly average of about 109 deaths per day. That average peaked in early August with 185 people dead per day.
Florida’s hospitals Monday were treating 2,628 patients with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus, according to the Agency for Healthcare Administration.
Monday brought an increase of 77 COVID-19 hospital patients over Sunday’s report. Twelve of them were in the Tampa Bay region, with two in Hernando County, four in Hillsborough, two in Pasco and four in Pinellas.
In all, Tampa Bay area hospitals were treating 451 coronavirus patients Sunday.
About 28 percent of hospital beds and 25 percent of intensive-care unit beds are open statewide, and in Tampa Bay, about 26 percent of hospital beds and 18.3 percent of ICU beds are open. Many of the region’s largest hospitals, including Tampa General Hospital and Morton Plant Hospital, were reporting few or no ICU beds available for new patients Monday.
Since the start of the pandemic, Florida’s hospitals have treated 41,846 coronavirus patients. The Tampa Bay area accounts for 8,133 of those hospitalizations — 260 in Citrus County, 382 in Hernando, 1,781 in Hillsborough, 779 in Manatee, 776 in Pasco, 2,190 in Pinellas and 1,965 in Polk.
The peak of hospitalizations came in mid-July, with just under 10,000 people seeking treatment.
Florida’s average weekly positivity is about 12.6 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Florida Department of Health calculates positivity by counting negative retests but not positive ones, putting more emphasis on the negative results. Based on its calculations, the average weekly positivity rate is about 5 percent and on Sunday it was 4.4 percent.
When positivity is high, it can indicate there isn’t enough testing in an area to capture mild cases. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 5 percent positivity for two weeks for safer reopening.
Still, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation allowed bars to reopen to the public on Monday at 50 percent capacity. Those businesses were shuttered statewide in June following a sudden surge in coronavirus infections.
Only one of the 36 coronavirus-related deaths reported by the state on Monday came from the Tampa Bay region — in Citrus County — and one Hillsborough County death previously attributed to the coronavirus was removed from the state’s tally, bringing the county’s total number of deaths from 591 to 590.
The seven counties that make up the Tampa Bay area reported an additional 354 coronavirus cases on Monday, with a high count of 150 in Hillsborough.
As of the latest counts, Citrus County has reported 2,477 cases and 73 deaths, Hernando has 2,894 cases and 106 deaths, Hillsborough has 39,600 cases and 590 deaths, Manatee has 10,932 cases and 277 deaths, Pasco has 8,551 cases and 196 deaths, Pinellas has 20,988 cases and 704 deaths, and Polk County has 18,523 cases and 491 deaths.
Polk County leads the area with the highest average weekly positivity rate at about 7 percent, followed by Hillsborough at 6 percent, Citrus at 5 percent, Hernando at 4 percent and Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas at 3 percent.
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Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?
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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