The Florida Department of Health reported 7,363 coronavirus cases and 59 deaths on Sunday, pushing the number of known infections in the state to the brink of 1 million.
Only two other states in the U.S. have reported coronavirus caseloads of more than 1 million. California, the most populous state in the nation, has reported more than 1.18 million infections since the coronavirus pandemic began, and Texas has reported 1.15 million.
Florida’s caseload is now the third-highest in the nation, with 992,660 known coronavirus infections since the first case was announced on March 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means roughly one in every 21 Floridians has been infected by the virus.
Those state rankings remain the same for coronavirus fatalities. Since March 1, Florida has attributed 18,736 deaths to COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the novel coronavirus. The state is currently averaging 87 coronavirus-related deaths per day.
In the last week, more than 53,000 people in Florida have tested positive for the virus, state records show. Infections and deaths are rising across the nation, and most states have issued new coronavirus restrictions in hopes of curbing the virus’ spread during the holiday season.
But Florida’s economy has remained fully reopened since Sept. 25 under an executive order that not only removed the last remaining coronavirus restrictions in the state but prohibited local governments from passing their own public safety restrictions, issuing mask mandates or enforcing social distancing rules.
By mid-day Sunday, Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center showed the overall caseload in the U.S. had risen to at least 13,291,126. And of those infected, Johns Hopkins is reporting at least 266,357 people have died from the virus.
By Monday afternoon, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration reported 4,059 people across Florida were in the hospital with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 — an increase of 116 hospitalizations in the last 24 hours.
Roughly 22 percent of those patients were in Tampa Bay area hospitals, which reported a combined 882 coronavirus patients on Monday. About 28 percent of regular hospital beds statewide and 25 percent of adult beds in Florida’s intensive care units were available for new patients on Sunday. About 43 percent of all pediatric ICU beds were empty by 4 p.m. on Monday. There were 380 total patients.
In the Tampa Bay area, nearly 28 percent of regular hospital beds and 21 percent of adult ICU beds were empty. The region’s pediatric units saw a slight decrease in admissions, reporting 64 patients on Sunday compared to 66 the week before. Availability of beds in those pediatric ICU units is at about 21 percent.
The number of coronavirus hospitalizations in Florida has risen since mid-October, but this week remained relatively steady.
The counties experiencing the most coronavirus hospitalizations has mostly aligned with the number of known infections reported to the state. Miami-Dade led the state with 621 coronavirus patients on Sunday, followed by Broward and Palm Beach counties. Hillsborough County’s hospitalizations were the fourth-highest number in the state at 267 active patients, followed by Duval, and Pinellas County’s 195 patients.
Florida’s average weekly positivity rate has decreased to about 7.36 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University, which recently changed its metric to align more closely with the Florida Department of Health’s measure.
Still, Florida is one of 45 states above the World Health Organization’s recommended positivity rate of 5 percent or below. A high positivity rate can indicate there’s not enough testing in a given area to capture mild and asymptomatic cases.
A higher positivity rate can indicate that there isn’t widespread enough testing to capture mild and asymptomatic coronavirus cases. As testing increases, the positivity rate usually decreases.
According to state data, Florida’s positivity rate for new cases was 7.85 percent, and has ranged from 6.18 percent to 8.74 percent in the last two weeks. Those results come from 103,131 coronavirus tests processed by the state in the last 24 hours. Overall, more than 7.2 million people have been tested for the coronavirus in Florida — about one-third of the state’s population.
The Tampa Bay region added 1,091 coronavirus cases on Sunday and 18 deaths.
Six of those fatalities were in Hillsborough County, while Hernando and Pinellas counties reported four deaths each, Citrus reported three deaths and Polk reported the death of one person, an 86-year-old woman. No fatalities were reported in Manatee or Pasco counties.
Citrus County leads the region with an average weekly positivity rate of about 9.93 percent, followed by Hernando at 9.84 percent, Pasco at 9.8 percent, Hillsborough at 7.41 percent, Polk at 7.11 percent, Manatee at 6.18 percent and Pinellas at 5.33 percent.
As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 58,092 cases and 934 deaths,Pinellas has 32,808 cases and 903 deaths, Polk has 27,481 cases and 676 deaths, Manatee has 16,703 cases and 375 deaths, Pasco has 14,783 cases and 273 deaths, Hernando has 4,969 cases and 212 deaths, and Citrus has 4,731 cases and 169 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
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