Florida adds 4,865 coronavirus cases Sunday as death toll nears 17,000

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The Florida Department of Health reported 4,865 coronavirus infections on Sunday and 28 deaths, bringing the state’s overall death toll throughout the pandemic to just short of 17,000 lives lost.

Since March 1, the day health officials recorded the first known coronavirus infection in Florida, the state has reported a total of 807,412 cases. And among those cases, 16,997 lives have been lost to the virus.

Per capita, Florida’s death rate is the 11th highest in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By Sunday, the state was averaging 52.1 new deaths each day, records show, a slight decline from last week’s average.

The weekly case average also dropped slightly in recent days to about 3,757 cases per day. According to the state’s data, roughly one in every 26 people in Florida 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 932,500 cases, followed by Texas, with more than 932,200 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By comparison, the three most populous states, in order, are California, Texas and Florida.

By Sunday morning, the coronavirus had infected more than 46 million people worldwide, leading to more than 1.1 million deaths. According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, more than 230,000 of those deaths occurred in the United States, where more than 9 million have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hospitalizations

Just over 6 percent of those infected with the virus have ended up in Florida’s hospitals, data shows. The number of hospitalizations statewide increased by 67 admissions on Sunday for a total of 49,981 since March 1.

By 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Florida’s hospitals were treating 2,337 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 482 coronavirus patients Sunday.

About 27 percent of adult beds in Florida intensive care units and 28 percent of 60,000 regular hospital beds were available for new patients Monday. Florida’s pediatric intensive care units reported 407 active coronavirus patients Sunday, leaving 253 beds available for new admissions.

In the Tampa Bay area, about 27 percent of hospital beds and 24 percent of adult ICU beds were available Sunday. Pediatric units have seen a slight increase in admissions since last week, reporting only 30 of 92 patient ICU beds available. In Pinellas County, pediatric units reported only 13 percent availability Sunday afternoon, while intensive care units in the region’s largest hospitals continued to operate at or near capacity.

Positivity

Florida’s average weekly positivity rate is about 5.75 percent, according to both the Florida Department of Health and 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 data used by Johns Hopkins for positivity recently changed. Where before it counted only a person’s first test, it now better reflects retests.

A total of 6,199,281 coronavirus test results have been recorded statewide, according to the Health Department.

Local Numbers

For the second Sunday in a row, no coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the Tampa Bay area.

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.

Sunday’s update from the state showed a steady increase in infections, though, with a combined 1,003 new cases logged across the seven-county region.

The average weekly positivity rate was 6.18 percent in Hillsborough County on Sunday — the highest in the region — followed by 5.68 percent in Polk, 5.58 percent in Manatee, 5.53 percent in Citrus, 5.31 percent in Pasco, 5.22 percent in Hernando and 4.52 percent in Pinellas.

As of the latest counts, Hillsborough has 48,669 cases and 821 deaths, Pinellas has 26,214 cases and 827 deaths, Polk has 23,306 cases and 625 deaths, Manatee has 13,550 cases and 332 deaths, Pasco has 11,063 cases and 245 deaths, Hernando has 3,812 cases and 176 deaths, and Citrus has 3,308 cases and 136 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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