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Florida reports more than 6,000 new coronavirus cases as the death toll hits 3,500

Customers sit at tables next to the bar at Piazza Italia in Fort Lauderdale, a violation of rules aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The restaurant was shut down and issued a $15,000 fine by code officers.

SUSANNAH BRYAN, SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL/TNS

By MICHELLE MARCHANTE | Miami Herald | Published: June 30, 2020

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MIAMI (Tribune News Service) — Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed 6,093 additional cases of COVID-19. The state now has 152,434 confirmed cases.

There were also 58 new deaths announced, raising the statewide death toll to 3,505.

Tuesday’s single-day total is the fourth highest reported in the state since the pandemic began. The highest single-day total was reported on Saturday with 9,585 cases.

Less than half of the new cases and new deaths were in South Florida.

— Miami-Dade County reported 1,598 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 16 new deaths. The county now has 36,820 confirmed cases and 991 deaths, the highest in the state.

— Broward County reported 579 additional confirmed cases of the disease and one new death. The county now has 15,624 known cases and 383 deaths.

— Palm Beach County saw 439 additional confirmed cases and seven new deaths. The county now has 14,150 and 510 deaths.

— Monroe County reported 23 additional cases of the disease and no new deaths. The Florida Keys now have 259 confirmed cases and four deaths.

CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN FLORIDA

One of the tools that officials are relying on to determine if the coronavirus situation is improving in the state is hospitalization data. Unlike testing, which might be limited or take days to report results, hospitalizations can help give officials a real-time snapshot of how many people are severely ill with COVID-19.

The health department says it does not “have a figure” to reflect the number of people currently hospitalized and only provides the total number of hospitalizations in its statewide and county-level data. On Tuesday, 226 hospitalizations were added, bringing the statewide total to 14,580.

While Florida’s Department of Health is not releasing current statewide hospitalization data to the public, hospitals in Miami-Dade are self-reporting a number of key metrics, including hospitalizations, to the county, which has made this data public. Some provide updates every day; others don’t.

On Monday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications hit an all-time high again with a total of 1,149 patients, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard data. According to Monday’s data, 93 people were discharged and 117 people were admitted.

Scientists are also still working to learn more about the virus, including how many people in the community are infected and have mild or no symptoms, which can make it difficult to determine what percentage of the cases hospitalizations represent.

COVID-19 TESTING IN FLORIDA

Testing in Florida has seen steady growth since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Testing, like hospitalizations, helps officials determine the virus’ progress and plays a role in deciding whether it is safe to lift stay-at-home orders and loosen restrictions.

The recommended number of daily tests needed varies among experts, but the dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine told the governor that Florida needs to test about 33,000 people every day.

Florida’s Department of Health reported 41,626 new tests on Sunday. The positive rate was 15.71% of the total, according to the report. In total, 2,299,430 tests have been conducted.

To date, 1,914,151 people have been tested in Florida. Of the total tested, 146,341 (about 7.64%) have tested positive. The state says there are 1,744 tests with pending results. Tuesday’s testing data was not immediately available.

Health experts have previously told the Miami Herald that they were concerned the number of pending results listed by the state is an undercount. This is because Florida’s Health Department only announces the number of pending test results from state labs, not private ones — and private labs are completing more than 90% of state tests.

Previously, it has taken as long as two weeks for pending test results from private labs to be added into the state’s official count, making it difficult for officials to project the size and scale of the pandemic in the state. It’s unclear how quickly results are currently being sent to the state from private labs, as the turnaround time varies by lab.

©2020 Miami Herald
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