Florida surpasses 7,000 COVID-19 deaths
By MARC FREEMAN | Sun Sentinel | Published: August 1, 2020
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(Tribune News Service) — Florida's coronavirus report on Saturday included 179 more resident deaths and 9,642 new COVID-19 cases, as the state kept away from the record-setting numbers of the past few days.
Health officials the previous day reported 257 deaths from disease complications, the most during the pandemic. These are fatalities that happened in recent weeks, but took time to confirm for the COVID-19 tally.
While the newly reported cases is a jump from the 9,007 infections listed on Friday's report, it's the seventh straight day of fewer than 10,000 cases.
And it's much better than the previous Saturday, when the Department of Health reported 12,199 new cases. The one-day peak was 15,300 infections on July 12.
The test results reported on a single day typically reflect tests taken over several days.
The state has tallied 480,028 cases and 7,144 deaths to date, classifying COVID-19 as the state's deadliest infectious disease. In 2019, there were 2,703 deaths attributed to the flu and pneumonia in Florida.
South Florida, which accounts for 29% of Florida's population, reported 4,711 new cases in the past day, or 48.9% of the daily total for the state, according to the state Department of Health.
Broward County: 1,386 new coronavirus cases were reported Saturday, bringing the total to 56,797. A total of 767 people have died, 33 more than reported Friday.
Palm Beach County: 580 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 33,854. A total of 848 people have died, 18 more than reported Friday.
Miami-Dade County: 2,745 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 121,207. A total of 1,663 people have died. That's 36 more than reported Friday.
TESTING AND THE POSITIVITY RATE
Florida says it has swabbed 3.68 million people since the pandemic began, and 13% have been positive. Florida has had the third-highest number of COVID-19 tests in the country – tied with Texas – behind California (7.8 million) and New York (5.9 million).
Florida reported an 11.1% positivity rate for tests statewide in the previous 24-hour period, a slight increase since Friday. In South Florida the rates are: 16.2% for Miami-Dade, which is up a hair since Friday; 12.8% for Broward, an increase of two percentage points over the previous day; and 8.8% for Palm Beach County, which is similar to the past day.
The daily positivity rate is a key figure, since it's one of the numbers that indicates the prevalence of the disease in the population. In May, Florida's positivity rate was about 5%, and state officials say they want it to drop back down under 10%.
Coronavirus testing sites across South Florida, including those run by the state, closed Friday, because of concerns about the region experiencing the effects of Hurricane Isaias. COVID-19 testing in other parts of the state will not be interrupted by the storm. Impacted testing sites are expected to reopen by Wednesday.
The number of people being treated for COVID-19 at hospitals on Saturday decreased statewide and in South Florida, records show.
The total stood at 7,965 as of 11:30 a.m., according to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. About 24 hours earlier, the same report listed 8,223 patients.
Miami-Dade County has the most people hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of the new coronavirus: 1,739 patients, a decrease of 19 since Friday. Next is Broward with 1,165, down by 41 since Friday. Palm Beach County has 496 patients, a decrease of 30.
A different report, from the state health department, shows 26,972 Florida residents have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic. That's an increase of 12,147 patients since July 1, when the total was 14,825 hospitalizations.
Officials say the most vulnerable to hospitalization and death are people older than 65 or those who have underlying health concerns such as weakened immune systems, diabetes or obesity.
The state this week began promoting a virus-fighting initiative called "One Goal One Florida." It's objective is "to unite Floridians and urge them to work together in the fight against COVID-19."
Residents are asked to: "Protect the vulnerable, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Practice proper hygiene, including washing your hands. Practice social distancing by avoiding closed spaces and crowded places. Wear a mask if you are in close contact with others."
Statewide: The official COVID-19 death total for Florida reached 7,144 on Saturday. That figure includes 122 people who were not residents; ; officials changed that after listing 123 nonresident deaths on Friday's report. The three South Florida counties account for 3,278 deaths, which is 45.9% of the state total.
Seniors: At least 3,024 deaths have occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, a figure that represents 43.1% of the state total for coronavirus deaths of residents. Miami-Dade County has the highest number of long-term care facility deaths, with 607, or 20.1% of the total. Palm Beach County had 342 deaths, or 11.3%, and Broward accounted for 216 deaths, or 7.1%.
Nationwide: Florida has reported an average of about 179 deaths per day, or 1,250 total over the past seven days. After the state's recent surge of fatalities, Florida's death rate now ranks 19th compared with other states – that is 31 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's COVID Data Tracker.
New York City has the highest death rate with 280 deaths per 100,000. California is at 23 deaths per 100,000 and Texas 22 deaths per 100,000. California and Texas are the most populous states in the country, followed by Florida and New York.
U.S.: The coronavirus death toll in the United States reached 153,642 as of 11:35 a.m. ET Saturday, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.
The United States has reported almost 4.6 million cases, the highest total in the world.
Worldwide: The global total surpassed 17.6 million cases Saturday, with at least 680,575 deaths, Johns Hopkins reported.
The U.S. has 4.3% of the world's population, but 26% of the world's cases and 22.6% of the world's deaths.
(c)2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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