The Florida Department of Health reported 7,711 coronavirus infections and 106 deaths - the highest death toll the state has ever reported on a Monday.
Because the state’s daily updates reflect data confirmed in the previous 24 hours, health experts have come to expect smaller numbers released after weekends and holidays when fewer people are working than normal. That’s particularly true when it comes to tracking COVID-19 deaths - the number of reported fatalities in Florida plummeted on the Tuesdays after Memorial Day and Labor Day, records show.
Monday’s count shows that deaths, like infections and hospitalizations, are still on the rise in Florida, and the state is currently averaging 99.3 new deaths reported each day. Overall, Florida has attributed 19,529 deaths to the coronavirus since the state reported its first known infections on March 1.
In those same 10 months, the state has counted 1,065,785 known coronavirus cases. That means roughly one in every 19 Floridians have now tested positive for the virus.
As the virus continues to spread and the holidays near, many states are reinstating strict public health guidelines and stay-at-home orders. In some stretches of the country, like California, hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. Still, health experts say it will likely be another week before daily coronavirus reports start to show the effects of Thanksgiving travel on virus spread.
Only two other states - Texas and California - have caseloads exceeding one million coronavirus infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By Monday evening, the CDC was reporting more than 14.8 million known coronavirus infections in the U.S. and more than 283,000 deaths. Worldwide, an estimated 67.4 million people have been infected by the virus, and 1.54 million have died.
Hospitalizations: By Monday afternoon, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration reported 4,495 people across Florida were in the hospital with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 — an increase of 155 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours.
Roughly 20 percent were in Tampa Bay area hospitals, which reported a combined 905 coronavirus patients.
About 24 percent of regular hospital beds statewide and 22 percent of adult beds in Florida’s intensive care units were available Monday. In the Tampa Bay area, roughly 23 percent of regular hospital beds and 18percent of adult ICU beds were empty.
The number of coronavirus Infections, deaths and hospitalizations has steadily increased in Florida since October. That’s after a weeks-long plateau of around 2,000 hospitalizations a day this fall.
Tampa General will be one of five hospitals in Florida to receive the first round of COVID-19 vaccines under the state’s pilot program. Since March 1, Tampa General has treated more than 1,400 coronavirus patients and conducted more than 120,000 tests for the virus.
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On Monday, the hospital reported only two empty beds in its adult ICU unit - the largest in the Tampa Bay region.
Positivity: Florida’s average weekly positivity rate continues to increase, and on Monday was 8.77 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 46 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. As testing increases, the positivity rate usually decreases.
According to state data, Florida’s positivity rate for new cases was 7.64 percent and has ranged from 6.22 percent to 9.16 percent in the past two weeks. Those results come from 111,745 coronavirus tests processed by the state in the past 24 hours. Overall, more than 7.61 million people have been tested for the coronavirus in Florida — about 35 percent of the state’s population.
This week, the average daily caseload in Florida increased by roughly 21 percent over last week’s numbers to an average of more than 9,000 new infections reported every day. That’s including two days last week where the health department logged more than 10,000 infections.
Local numbers: The Tampa Bay region added 1,204 coronavirus cases and 19 deaths Monday.
Hernando was the only county in the region without any new fatalities to report. Hillsborough County reported eight deaths, while Pinellas reported five, Citrus reported three, and one death each was reported in Manatee, Pasco and Polk counties.
Pasco County continues to lead the region with an average weekly positivity rate of 10 percent, followed by Citrus at 9.4 percent, Hernando at 9.3 percent, Polk at 8.9 percent, Hillsborough at 7.7 percent, Manatee at 6.2 percent and Pinellas at 6.1 percent.
As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 61,599 cases and 973 deaths, Pinellas has 35,202 cases and 934 deaths, Polk has 29,362 cases and 704 deaths, Manatee has 17,800 cases and 396 deaths, Pasco has 16,338 cases and 306 deaths, Hernando has 5,447 cases and 230 deaths, and Citrus has 5,107 cases and 185 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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