MIAMI — Florida’s Department of Health on Monday confirmed 6,336 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 206,447. There were also 47 new deaths announced, raising the statewide death toll to 3,778.
There were no new non-resident deaths announced, keeping the statewide non-resident death total at 101.
The state began adding antigen test results to Florida’s case totals on Thursday. Antigen tests are a new category of tests that detect fragments of proteins found in the virus by testing samples collected by nose swabs. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the first antigen COVID-19 tests in May.
Less than half of the new cases and new deaths were in South Florida.
— Miami-Dade County reported 1,981 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight new deaths. The county now has 48,992 confirmed cases and 1,051 deaths, the highest in the state.
— Broward County reported 617 additional confirmed cases of the disease and two new deaths. The county now has 21,856 known cases and 414 deaths.
— Palm Beach County saw 406 additional confirmed cases and one new death. The county now has 17,242 confirmed cases and 543 deaths.
— Monroe County reported 13 additional cases of the disease and no new deaths. The Florida Keys now have 380 confirmed cases and five deaths.
One of the tools that officials are relying 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.
Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance dashboard does not reflect the number of people currently hospitalized and only provides the total number of hospitalizations in its statewide and county-level data.
Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office confirmed to the Miami Herald that the state would start reporting current hospitalization numbers for all counties sometime this week.
The change comes following a surge of cases in recent weeks and as public health experts and the nonprofit COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer group that has become the most prolific coronavirus data collector in the country, pressure the state to start reporting current hospitalizations, saying the information is a clearer way of assessing how bad the pandemic is getting.
On Monday, the state was still only providing total hospitalization counts — 150 hospitalizations were added, bringing the statewide total to 16,045.
Hospitals in Miami-Dade have been self-reporting a number of key metrics, including hospitalizations, to the county, which has made this data public for several months.
On Sunday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications hit another all-time high with a total of 1,538 patients, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard data. According to Sunday’s data, 125 people were discharged and 138 people were admitted.
On Saturday, hospitals reported a total of 1,466 patients, 174 people were discharged and 156 people were admitted.
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.
On Sunday, Florida’s Department of Health reported 69,993 new tests on Saturday. The positive rate was 17.02% of the total, according to the report. In total, 2,662,423 tests have been conducted.
To date, 2,202,095 people have been tested in Florida. Of the total tested, 200,111 (about 9.09%) have tested positive. The state says there are 1,508 tests with pending results.
©2020 Miami Herald