Florida added 217 deaths to its COVID-19 reporting on Wednesday, setting another high mark for the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes one day after the state added 191 fatalities to the toll caused by disease complications. The state has reported 998 deaths over the last seven days, or an average of almost 143 deaths per day.
But the deaths reported Wednesday happened over a number of weeks, rather than over the past 24 hours. Florida has confirmed 6,457 COVID-19 deaths to date.
Florida’s death rate remains near the middle compared with other states, with 28 deaths per 100,000 people as of Tuesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker.
The death rate is significantly higher in New York City with 280 deaths per 100,000. California has reported 21 deaths per 100,000, and Texas has had 20 deaths per 100,000. California and Texas are the most populous states, followed by Florida and New York.
The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday also reported another 9,446 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19. The test results reported on a single day typically reflect tests taken over several days.
This is the fourth consecutive day that the state has reported fewer than 10,000 cases; the peak was 15,300 infections on July 12. Still, Wednesday’s figure is higher than the 9,230 infections reported Tuesday and the 8,892 cases listed on Monday’s report.
The state’s total of known cases now stands at 451,423, which ranks it behind only California’s 466,000-plus cases. Florida surpassed New York state, the original coronavirus epicenter, on Saturday.
South Florida, which accounts for 29% of Florida’s population, reported 4,677 new cases in the past day, or 49.5% of the daily total for the state, according to the state Department of Health.
Broward County: 1,313 new coronavirus cases were reported Wednesday, bringing the total to 52,970. A total of 663 people have died, 31 more than reported Tuesday.
Palm Beach County: 573 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 32,171. A total of 810 people have died, 16 more than reported Tuesday.
Miami-Dade County: 2,791 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 113,143. A total of 1,471 people have died. That’s 30 more than reported Tuesday.
TESTING AND THE POSITIVITY RATE
Florida says it has tested 3.53 million people since the pandemic began, and 12.8% have been positive. That’s the third-highest number of COVID-19 tests in the country, behind California (7.4 million) and New York (5.7 million).
Florida reported a 12.3% positivity rate for tests statewide in the previous 24-hour period, up slightly since Tuesday and the highest percentage over the past five days.
The rate was 16.3% for Miami-Dade, 12.7% for Broward and 8.6% for Palm Beach County.
Palm Beach County’s rate was the lowest since June 27, and Miami-Dade’s rate was the lowest since June 26, but the rate for Broward increased by almost two percentage points since Tuesday.
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%.
The number of people being treated for COVID-19 at hospitals on Wednesday decreased statewide and in South Florida, records show.
The total stood at 8,729 as of 11:16 a.m., according to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. About 24 hours earlier, the same report listed 8,976 patients.
Miami-Dade County has the most people hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of the new coronavirus: 1,944 patients, a decrease of 72 since Tuesday. Next is Broward with 1,267, down by 18 since Tuesday. Palm Beach County has 574 patients, a decrease of 24.
A different report, from the state health department, shows 25,499 Florida residents have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic. That’s an increase of 10,674 patients since July 1, when the total was 14,825 hospitalizations.
Statewide: The official COVID-19 death total for Florida reached 6,457 on Wednesday. That figure includes 124 people who were not residents. The three South Florida counties account for 2,944 deaths, which is 45.6% of the state total.
Asked to comment on the deaths, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said the outlook is improving. He cited better treatments for people hospitalized for COVID-19, and a recent trend of fewer people going to emergency rooms with coughs and other symptoms.
“When you see those (death) reports, those are probably reflective of infections and hospitalizations that have happened in the past,” he said. “As you have fewer (emergency room) visits, as you have fewer COVID-positive patients in the hospital … I’m pretty sure … you’ll see mortality decrease.”
Seniors: At least 2,836 deaths have occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, a figure that represents 44.8% of the state total for coronavirus deaths of residents. Miami-Dade County has the highest number of long-term care facility deaths, with 601, or 21.2%, of the total. Palm Beach County had 324 deaths, or 11.4%, and Broward accounted for 204 deaths, or 7.2%.
COVID-19 is the state’s deadliest infectious disease, killing three times more Floridians a day than flu/pneumonia, AIDS and viral hepatitis combined, records show. The most vulnerable to death and hospitalization are people older than 65 or those who have underlying health concerns such as weakened immune systems, diabetes or obesity.
U.S.: The coronavirus death toll in the United States reached 149,684 as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.
The United States has reported almost 4.4 million cases, the highest total in the world.
Worldwide: The global total reached almost 16.8 million cases Wednesday, with at least 661,349 deaths, Johns Hopkins reported.
The U.S. has 4.3% of the world’s population, but 26.1% of the world’s cases and 22.6% of the world’s deaths.