Florida overtakes N.Y. in total COVID-19 cases

A health care worker directs a person to use a nasal swab for a self administered test at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami. David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida jumped ahead of New York in confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to the CDC’s data, after the Sunshine State reported another 12,199 infections on Saturday.

The state says 414,511 people have been diagnosed with the disease, placing it number two in the nation and now in front of New York State and its 406,506 cases. California leads the way with 425,616, based on the COVID Data Tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health departments in the three states also are reporting similar data that confirm Florida has vaulted over New York for known cases during the pandemic.

The New York State Department of Health on Saturday announced a total of 411,200 infections; California on Friday listed 435,334 cases. Texas, another current hot spot, reported 369,826 cases as of Friday.

With 21.5 million people, Florida ranks as the nation’s third most populous state, behind California (39.5 million) and Texas (29 million.) New York is fourth, with 19.5 million people.

Florida has reported an average of 10,993 cases per day over the past seven days, which is the biggest surge anywhere in the nation. Miami-Dade County, which topped 100,000 cases on Saturday for the most infections anywhere in the state, is a major factor for the increase, statistics show.

Moreover, the true number of cases is likely to be significantly higher than what has been reported. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield last month told reporters, “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually are 10 other infections.”

The Florida Department of Health on Saturday also reported another 126 people have died from COVID-19 complications, for a total of 5,894 deaths in Florida. Statistics show that 82% of residents who have died were 65 or older.

The state’s death rate has been steadily rising for the past four weeks; the state has listed over 100 deaths on nine of the past 12 days. A record 173 fatalities were put on Thursday’s data release. Due to a reporting lag, many deaths happen weeks before showing up on the daily reports.

The official COVID-19 death total for Florida reached 5,894 on Saturday. That figure includes 117 people who were not residents. The three South Florida counties account for 2,767 deaths, which is 46.9% of the state total.

Statewide: Florida’s death rate is in the middle compared with other states. Florida’s death rate per 100,000 people was 25.9 as of Friday, CDC data show. The death rate is much higher in New York City with 279.4 deaths for 100,000. California has had 20.3 deaths per 100,000, and Texas has had 15.8 deaths.

Senior care: At least 2,645 deaths have occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, a figure that represents 45.8% of the state total for coronavirus deaths of residents.

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.

Florida says it has tested 3.34 million people since the pandemic began, and 12.4% have been positive. That’s the third-highest number of COVID-19 tests in the country, behind California (6.8 million) and New York (5.4 million).

Florida on Saturday reported a 11.4% positivity rate for tests statewide in the previous 24-hour period.

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%.

“We want to get it back to where it was when we reopened and that’s 5 percent,” Dr. Alina Alonso, Palm Beach County’s health department director, told reporters on Friday. She pleaded with the public to follow social distancing and mask-wearing measures, noting, “This is really the only tool we have to bring down the number of cases.”

South Florida, which accounts for 29% of Florida’s population, reported 5,738 new cases in the past day, or 47% of the daily total for the state, according to the state Department of Health.

Broward County: 1,611 new coronavirus cases were reported Saturday, bringing the total to 48,187. A total of 605 people have died, 34 more since Friday’s report.

Palm Beach County: 703 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 29,707. A total of 767 people have died, eight more since Friday.

Miami-Dade County: 3,424 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 101,854. It’s the second-highest number of cases on any day during the public health emergency, records show. A total of 1,395 people have died. That’s nine more than Friday.

The number of people being treated for COVID-19 at hospitals increased in South Florida, but dropped statewide on Saturday.

The total stood at 9,048 as of 12:31 p.m., according to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. About 24 hours earlier, the same report listed 9,206 patients.

Miami-Dade County has the most people hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of the new coronavirus: 1,954, a decrease of 33 since Friday. Next is Broward with 1,295, up by 25 since Friday. Palm Beach County has 595 patients, an increase of 22.

A different report, from the state health department, shows 23,730 Florida residents have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic. That’s an increase of 8,905 patients since July 1, when the total was 14,825 hospitalizations.

U.S.: The coronavirus death toll in the United States reached 145,860 as of 12:35 p.m. Saturday, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.

The United States has reported 4.1 million cases, the highest total in the world.

Worldwide: The global total reached 15.8 million cases Saturday, with at least 641,013 deaths, Johns Hopkins reported.

The U.S. has 4.3% of the world’s population and 26.2% of the world’s cases.

Tribune Wire

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