Florida added 3,255 coronavirus cases on Thursday, marking the fourth day in a row where weekly average infections have increased.
There are about 2,818 coronavirus cases announced by the Florida Department of Health per day, according to Thursday’s weekly caseload average. Since March, the state has logged 674,456 coronavirus infections. The number of cases that have resulted in hospitalization increased by 198 admissions.
Florida also recorded 147 coronavirus deaths Thursday, bringing the total dead from COVID-19 to 13,247 people. The weekly death average is about 109 people announced dead per day.
It appears that Florida’s coronavirus caseloads were leveling off, but in the last week began to increase again, said Dr. Marissa Levine, a professor of public health and family medicine at the University of South Florida. While it’s too early to know for sure if this trend will continue, she said there’s been an increase in reported cases among young adults and teenagers as colleges and schools reopen.
“I think at the very least Florida, on the large scale, has stalled," Levine said. “But we’ve also stalled at a pretty high level of disease.”
She added that Florida’s current level of disease is two times what it was in April.
“Once we see hospitalizations and deaths start to creep up it’s actually too late,” Levine said. “And it may indicate that we’ve failed and that we let our guard down.”
Hospitalizations: About 2,500 people across Florida were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration. About 420 of those patients were in the Tampa Bay area.
The number of people hospitalized peaked in mid-July and has declined since then. But in Tampa Bay, that decline has stalled.
About 24 percent of hospital beds and 23 percent of intensive care unit beds across Florid were available Thursday. In Tampa Bay, about 21 percent of hospital beds and 17 percent of ICU beds were open.
Positivity: The positivity rate can be used to measure whether an area is doing enough testing to capture mild and asymptomatic cases in the community.
Though there is no one perfect metric to determine positivity, the World Health Organization recommended a rate of 5 percent or below for 14 days before loosening social distancing restrictions.
Florida’s weekly average positivity rate was 12 percent on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Florida Department of Health, which calculates positivity by counting negative retests but not positive retests, said the weekly positivity was 4 percent.
Local numbers: Tampa Bay added 594 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths Thursday.
Six of the deaths were reported in Polk County, five were in Hillsborough, four were in Citrus, two were in Hernando and one was in Pinellas.
Polk leads the area with the highest positivity rate at about 6 percent, followed by Citrus and Hillsborough at 5 percent, Hernando at 4 percent and Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas at 3 percent.
As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 40,126 cases and 606 deaths; Pinellas has 21,254 cases and 719 deaths; Polk has 18,783 cases and 506 deaths; Manatee has 11,041 cases and 279 deaths; Pasco has 8,680 cases and 198 deaths; Hernando has 2941 cases and 111 deaths; and Citrus has 2,541 cases and 80 deaths.
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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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