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Florida sees a record 2,783 daily coronavirus cases as state total hits 80,000

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 6/16/2020 By Michelle Marchante, Miami Herald
Gallery by photo services

MIAMI — Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday morning confirmed 2,783 additional cases of COVID-19, setting another daily total record high since the start of the pandemic. The state now has a total of 80,109 confirmed cases.

Previously, the highest daily total recorded was on Saturday when 2,581 cases were reported. There were also 55 new deaths announced Tuesday, raising the statewide death toll to 2,993.

The state slowly began to reopen in May. Now in June, most businesses across the state are open at limited capacity with social distancing regulations in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

A Miami Herald analysis of public and non-public COVID-19 data found that as of June 3, new cases in the state had consistently been trending up since mid-May and the trends could not be attributed solely to increases in testing, which had been inconsistent and sometimes declining during that period.

And as bars, gyms, vacation rentals and movie theaters reopened at partial capacity in all but three South Florida counties, the number and rate of new COVID-19 cases were rising statewide — a troubling indicator that the disease could be spreading more quickly.

More than half of the new deaths but less than half of the new cases were in South Florida:

— Miami-Dade County reported 544 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 21 new deaths. The county now has a total of 22,741 confirmed cases and 847 deaths, the highest in the state.

— Broward County reported 412 additional confirmed case of the disease and no new deaths. The county now has a total of 9,498 known cases and 358 deaths.

— Palm Beach County saw 247 additional confirmed cases and nine new deaths. The county’s known total is now at 9,262 with 438 deaths.

— Monroe County reported one additional case of the disease and no new deaths. The Florida Keys now have a total of 131 confirmed cases and four deaths.

a group of people flying kites on a beach: An aerial drone view as beachgoers take advantage of the opening of South Beach on June 10, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. Florida reported another 1,758 coronavirus cases on Monday, continuing a statewide surge in infections. © Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images North America/TNS An aerial drone view as beachgoers take advantage of the opening of South Beach on June 10, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. Florida reported another 1,758 coronavirus cases on Monday, continuing a statewide surge in infections.

More than half of the state’s known COVID-19 cases are in South Florida’s four counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe. Miami-Dade continues to lead the state with the most confirmed cases and deaths. It has 22,741 known cases and 847 deaths.

One of the tools that officials are relying on to determine if the novel 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 visual 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, 191 hospitalizations were added, raising the statewide total count to 12,206.

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.

Thirty-six people were discharged and 65 people were admitted to Miami-Dade hospitals on Monday, bringing the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications to 607, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard data.

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.

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 34,324 new tests on Sunday in Monday’s daily COVID-19 update. The positive rate was 6.72% of the total, according to the report.

To date, 1,431,164 persons have been tested in Florida. Of the total tested, 77,326 (about 5.4%) have tested positive. The state says there are 1,167 tests with pending results. Tuesday’s testing data was not immediately available.

However, unlike hospitalization data that can give researchers a real-time visual on how the novel coronavirus is affecting the community, testing might be limited or take days to report results.

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.

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©2020 Miami Herald

Visit Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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