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Florida reports 2,539 coronavirus cases Sunday, 50 deaths

Since March 1, the state has attributed 16,168 deaths to the virus. That’s No. 11 per capita in the country.

The Florida Department of Health reported 2,539 coronavirus infections on Sunday and 50 deaths — numbers that more closely align with recent trendlines after a surge in cases on Saturday nearly doubled those daily numbers.

In the eight months since health officials announced Florida’s first coronavirus cases on March 1, the state has attributed 16,168 deaths to the virus, 11th per capita in the country. In all, Florida has recorded 755,020 coronavirus infections, which means roughly one in every 27 Florida residents has tested positive for the virus.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the average number of reported cases in Florida over the past week has increased by roughly 50 percent after Saturday’s reported 4,044 infections. That’s the highest single-day increase in coronavirus infections since August 22 — excluding two days where labs unloaded thousands of tests at once, rendering the state’s daily numbers reports useless for tracking the virus' spread.

Hospitalizations

Just over 6 percent of those infected with the virus have ended up in Florida’s hospitals, according to the Health Department. By 11 a.m. Sunday, the number of hospitalizations statewide increased by 79 admissions, for a total of 47,592 since March 1.

According to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, Florida’s hospitals on Sunday were treating 1,991 patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus. Roughly 20 percent of those patients were in Tampa Bay area hospitals, which reported a combined 403 coronavirus patients on Sunday.

About 28 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 empty. Florida’s pediatric intensive care units reported 402 active coronavirus patients on Sunday, leaving 247 beds available for new admissions.

In the Tampa Bay area, about 23 percent of hospital beds and 21 percent of adult ICU beds were available Sunday morning. Pediatric ICU units showed a slight decrease in admissions, and reported 38 of 89 patient beds were vacant.

Intensive care units in the region’s largest hospitals continued to operate at or near capacity on Sunday, mainly in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Only five of the 96 adult ICU beds at Tampa General Hospital were available.

The number of people hospitalized across the state has ticked slightly upward, the first time since July there has been an increase.

Positivity

Florida’s average weekly positivity rate was 12.67 percent on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

That figure has slowly declined 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. The positivity rate can also indicate if there’s enough testing in a given area to capture mild and asymptomatic cases.

The Florida Department of Health calculates positivity differently than Johns Hopkins, counting negative retests but not positive ones. Using that formula, Florida’s weekly positivity rate was 4.68 percent on Sunday.

Statewide, the Health Department has tested more than 5.7 million people for the virus.

Local numbers

The Tampa Bay area added 497 coronavirus cases on Sunday and 19 deaths, ranging in ages from 51-year-old man to a 100-year-old woman in Hillsborough County.

Five deaths were reported in Hillsborough County while Citrus and Polk counties reported four deaths each, Pasco and Pinellas counties reported two deaths each and Manatee and Hernando counties each reported one death a piece.

Hernando County had an average weekly positivity rate of about 5.5 percent, followed by 5.43 percent in Hillsborough, 5.24 percent in Polk, 4.79 percent in Pinellas, 4.39 percent in Manatee, 4.36 percent in Pasco and 4.17 percent in Citrus County.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough County leads the region in infections with 45,455 cases and 755 deaths. Pinellas County has the highest death count, with 24,099 infections and 804 fatalities.

Polk County reports 21,780 cases and 588 deaths, Manatee reports 12,538 cases and 322 deaths, Pasco reports 10,216 cases and 226 deaths, Hernando reports 3,451 cases and 156 deaths, and Citrus County reports 3,040 cases and 131 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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THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.

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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