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Florida reports 1,868 coronavirus cases Sunday, 42 deaths

The death rate is declining, but the number of coronavirus infections in Florida shows the virus is still being spread.

TAMPA — The Florida Department of Health reported 1,868 coronavirus infections on Sunday and 42 deaths — enough to keep the state’s weekly death average on its gradual downward slope.

That trend has been repeated in case numbers, positivity rates and hospitalizations during recent weeks.

Still, in the eight months since health officials announced Florida’s first coronavirus cases on March 1, Florida has attributed 14,845 deaths to the virus, 12th per capita in the country. In all, Florida has recorded 716,459 coronavirus infections, and in the past week the state has continued to record 2,000 to 3,000 more cases every day. About six percent of all people infected with the virus in Florida end up in a hospital and roughly two percent die, according to the state Health Department.

Nationwide, at least 7.38 million people have been infected by the coronavirus and 35 million have tested positive across the globe. More people have died in the United States than in any other country, records show, with at least 209,408 fatalities reported by Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center on Sunday morning.

Hospitalizations

Just over 45,000 of those infected with the virus have ended up in Florida’s hospitals, according to the Health Department. On Sunday, the number of hospitalizations increased by 64.

Florida’s hospitals Sunday were actively treating 2,046 patients who were admitted with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Roughly 22 percent of those patients were in Tampa Bay area hospitals, which reported a combined 435 coronavirus patients Sunday.

About 29 percent of Florida’s more than 60,000 hospital beds were available for new patients on Sunday, the state agency reported, and 26 percent of the nearly 6,000 adult beds in intensive care units across the state were available. Florida’s pediatric intensive care units reported 377 active coronavirus patients on Sunday, leaving 240 beds available for new admissions.

Intensive care units in the region’s largest hospitals continued to operate at or near capacity on Sunday, mainly in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Not one bed was empty in the children’s ICU ward at St. Joseph’s Hillsborough County hospital and only two of the 100 adult ICU beds at Tampa General Hospital were available.

Positivity

Florida’s average weekly positivity rate was 11.25 percent on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. That figure has been slowly declining since it hit 20 percent during Florida’s mid-July spike. Still, it’s higher than the World Health Organization’s recommendation that states maintain a positivity rate no greater than 5 percent for at least two weeks before rolling back social distancing measures.

According to Health Department calculations, the state’s weekly average positivity rate has met those guidelines, hovering around 4 percent and down to 3.7 percent Sunday morning. That’s because the department calculates positivity differently, counting negative retests but not positive ones.

Statewide, more than 5.4 million people have been tested for the virus, according to the Health Department.

Local numbers

The Tampa Bay area reported 350 coronavirus infections and four deaths Sunday. Hernando County reported the death of a 90-year-old woman and officials in Hillsborough County reported the deaths of an 85-year-old man and two women, ages 70 and 87.

Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee and Polk all have the highest weekly average positivity rate in the area at roughly 5 percent. Citrus and Pasco are at 4 percent and Pinellas is at 3 percent.

As of the latest counts, Citrus county has 2,835 cases and 109 deaths; Hernando has 3,239 cases and 136 deaths; Hillsborough has 42,891 cases and 676 deaths; Manatee has 11,766 cases and 297 deaths; Pasco has 9,476 cases and 211 deaths; Pinellas has 22,509 cases and 767 deaths; and Polk County has 20,425 cases and 533 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

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.

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A TRIBUTE TO THE FLORIDIANS TAKEN BY THE CORONAVIRUS: They were parents and retirees, police officer and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply.

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