Florida’s Department of Health on Thursday confirmed 2,541 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 693,040. Also, 177 Florida resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident death toll to 13,795.
Two new non-resident deaths were also announced, bringing the non-resident toll to 166, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.
On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health reported that the statewide positivity rate for people who tested positive for the first time Wednesday dipped below 5% again and is now at 4.45%. The rate had risen above 5% in the previous two days.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida
Note: The Florida Department of Health says that each county’s percent positivity for new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) does not include retests (people who have tested positive once and are being tested for a second time).
▪ Miami-Dade County reported 392 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 36 new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The county now has 168,272 confirmed cases and 3,163 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 4.44%. The 14-day positivity average is 4.40%, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” Dashboard.
▪ Broward County reported 183 additional confirmed cases of the disease and 15 new deaths. The county has a known total of 76,329 cases and 1,358 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 3.16%
▪ Palm Beach County saw 123 additional confirmed cases and 22 new deaths. The county now has 45,866 confirmed cases and 1,330 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 3.16%
▪ Monroe County confirmed four additional cases and no new deaths. The county has a known total of 1,817 cases and 22 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 1.64%
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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 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 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 6:02 p.m. Thursday, there were 2,169 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This is a significant decrease from early August, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state.
Of Thursday’s hospitalizations, 281 were in Miami-Dade, 227 in Broward, 126 in Palm Beach and two in Monroe counties, 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 Thursday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications decreased from 388 ro 355, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard. According to Thursday’s data, 65 people were discharged and 41 people were admitted.
The state has had 43,128 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 then 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 if it means there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.
On Thursday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 63,874 people tested on Wednesday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) was 4.45%.
If retests are included — people who have tested positive once and are being tested for a second time — the positivity rate was 5.73% of the total, the report said.
This article will be updated.