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Florida adds 8,409 new COVID-19 cases as Broward County hits a key milestone

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 11/22/2020 Howard Cohen, The Miami Herald

Florida’s Department of Health on Saturday confirmed 8,409 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 931,827, the third highest number in the country after Texas and California, according to the New York Times database of cases.

Also, the state announced 41 resident deaths, bringing the resident death toll to 17,930. Broward County also surpassed the 100,000 mark of coronavirus cases.

On Saturday, the cumulative non-resident toll increased by one from Friday. The toll is now 222 deaths.

The state’s confirmed COVID cases, deaths and hospitalizations have been spiraling upward over the past 14 days, with the number of new cases shooting up by 63% during this time period, the number of deaths up by 51% and the number of people hospitalized increasing by 34%, according to the New York Times database.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida

▪ Miami-Dade County reported 1,940 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and seven new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The number of new cases in Miami-Dade has soared over the past 14 days, jumping about 88% from the 1,110 cases recorded on Friday, Nov. 6, according to the state health department.

The county has a total of 213,197 confirmed cases and 3,753 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased Saturday from 8.66% to 7.4%. The 14-day percent positivity average was 8.23%, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” Dashboard.

▪ Broward County reported 968 additional confirmed cases and three new deaths. The county now has a known total of 100,288 cases — a new milestone — and 1,618 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 7.62% to 7.02%.

▪ Palm Beach County saw 576 additional confirmed cases and one new death. The county now has 61,305 confirmed cases and 1,648 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 6.64% to 6.56%.

▪ Monroe County confirmed 29 additional cases and one new death. The county has a known total of 3,093 cases and 26 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 20.38% to 9.18%.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida

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

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reports the number of patients hospitalized statewide with a “primary diagnosis of COVID.” The data, which is updated at least every hour, does not distinguish between the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units and those in acute-care beds, which require less attention from nurses.

Previously, the state was providing only the total number of hospitalizations in its statewide and county-level data. Miami-Dade was an exception, with hospitals self-reporting a number of key metrics, including hospitalizations, to the county, which has made this data public for several months.

As of 9:31 p.m. Saturday, there were 3,396 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This is a decrease from early August, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state, but the hospitalization numbers have been rising with the higher case counts.

Two weeks ago, on Nov. 6, the number of COVID-19 patients admitted in hospitals throughout the state was 2,564.

Of Saturday afternoon’s hospitalizations, 473 were in Miami-Dade, 319 in Broward, 239 in Palm Beach and nine in Monroe, according to the agency.

Florida’s current hospitalization data does not always match the hospitalization data reported in Miami-Dade’s “New Normal” dashboard. Officials say this could be for a number of reasons, including the frequency of daily updates.

On Saturday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications slightly decreased from 585 to 583, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard. According to Saturday’s data, 91 people were discharged and 91 people were admitted.

The state has had a total of 53,266 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

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.

Epidemiologists use the testing data to create a positivity rate. The rate helps them determine if a rise in cases is because of an increase in testing or whether there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.

On Saturday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 121,524 people tested on Friday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) decreased from 7.64% to 6.77%.

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©2020 Miami Herald

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