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Florida reports 3,377 coronavirus infections Monday, 20 deaths

Since March 1, the state has reported 782,013 infections and 16,652 deaths attributed to the coronavirus.

The Florida Department of Health reported 3,377 coronavirus infections on Monday and 20 deaths. For the second day in a row, none of the deaths were in the Tampa Bay area.

In the eight months since health officials announced Florida’s first coronavirus cases, on March 1, the state has attributed 16,652 deaths to the virus — 11th per capita in the country. In all, Florida has recorded 782,013 coronavirus infections, meaning roughly one in 26 Florida residents has tested positive for the virus.

Only two U.S. states have reported more coronavirus infections than Florida — California, which leads the nation with more than 904,000 cases, followed by Texas, with more than 888,000 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By comparison, the three most populous states, in order, are California, Texas and Florida.

Earlier this month, health experts on the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned that Florida could be heading for another months-long spike in the virus' spread and urged state health officials to increase testing.

Florida’s death rate per 100,000 people has tripled over the past three months, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state’s weekly death average from the virus decreased slightly to about 61 per day.

The coronavirus has infected over 42 million people worldwide and killed over 1.1 million people, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. The United States remains the world’s leader in both infections and fatalities. By Monday morning, more than 8.6 million Americans had been infected and more than 226,000 deaths were attributed to the virus.

Hospitalizations

Just over 6 percent of those infected with the virus have ended up in Florida’s hospitals, the Florida Health Department said Monday. The number of hospitalizations statewide increased by 76 admissions, according to the Monday report, for a total of 48,842 since March 1.

Florida’s hospitals on Sunday were treating 2,246 patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus, said the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Roughly 21 percent of those patients were in Tampa Bay area hospitals, which reported 479 coronavirus patients Monday.

About 27 percent of adult beds in Florida intensive care units and 27 percent of 60,000 regular hospital beds were available for new patients Monday. Florida’s pediatric intensive care units reported 398 active coronavirus patients Monday, leaving 248 beds available for new admissions.

In the Tampa Bay area, about 24 percent of hospital beds and 22 percent of adult ICU beds were available Monday. Pediatric units have seen a slight increase in admissions since last week, reporting only 29 of 83 patient ICU beds available.

Intensive care units in the region’s largest hospitals continued to operate at or near capacity on Monday, but admissions numbers across the Tampa Bay area were slightly down from Sunday. Intensive care units were operating at 84 percent capacity in Pasco County on Monday afternoon and at 81 percent capacity in Manatee and Hillsborough counties.

Only two ICU beds were available for new patients at Tampa General Hospital, with the largest ICU unit in the region, while St. Joseph’s and Brandon Regional hospitals reported their ICU units were at about 75 percent capacity.

Positivity

Florida’s average weekly positivity rate was 10.25 percent on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

That figure has slowly declined since hitting 20 percent during Florida’s mid-July spike. Still, it’s above 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. A high positivity rate can indicate there’s not 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 about 5.9 percent on Monday.

The Health Department said it collected 53,199 test results in the 24 hours leading up to Monday’s report. That’s about 32,000 more results than officials received Sunday. Still, those numbers fall far short of the batches of 80,000 to more than 100,000 daily test results seen in recent weeks.

Statewide, more than 5.9 million people have been tested for the virus.

Local numbers

For the second day in a row, not one coronavirus-related death was reported in the Tampa Bay area Monday.

The state Health Department subtracted one death from Polk County’s overall count bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the county to 616.

Health experts have questioned the integrity of Florida’s death reporting, noting that some doctors have logged COVID-19 deaths as late as three months after a patient died. The Florida Department of Health says it plans to launch a review of all deaths attributed to the virus thus far.

Monday’s update from the state showed a steady increase in infections, with 505 coronavirus infections reported from the Tampa Bay area.

The average weekly positivity rate was about 6 percent in both Polk and Hillsborough counties on Monday. Manatee County’s weekly positivity rate was 5.18 percent, followed by 5.13 percent in Pinellas, 4.69 percent in Citrus, 4.66 percent in Hernando and 4.44 percent in Pasco.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 47,080 cases and 764 deaths, Pinellas has 25,244 cases and 820 deaths, Polk has 22,634 cases and 617 deaths, Manatee has 13,023 cases and 329 deaths, Pasco has 10,637 cases and 237 deaths, Hernando has 3,629 cases and 166 deaths, and Citrus has 3,178 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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