FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s COVID-19 emergency had equal measures of hope and despair Tuesday, with a record number of new deaths but a drop-off in new cases.
The state Department of Health reported that 4,514 people have died since the pandemic began, an increase of 132 since Monday’s report. It’s the latest in a two-week trend of a rising death rate.
But Tuesday’s report of 9,194 new cases of the highly infectious disease was the lowest number since Thursday.
The state has been down this bumpy path before with days of declining cases only to veer back into record-setting territory.
The previous two days brought a U.S. record with 15,300 cases on Sunday, followed by 12,624 cases on Monday.
In another troubling sign, the positivity rate, a key figure to indicate the prevalence of the disease, increased again. The rate Tuesday was 15%, up from Monday’s 11.51% but still off last Wednesday’s peak of 18.4%.
In May, Florida’s positivity rate hovered around 5%.
Public health experts say a positivity rate of 10% or less is optimal. The World Health Organization has recommended a positivity rate of 5% before countries start to reopen.
South Florida, which accounts for 29% of Florida’s population, reported 3,893 new cases in the past day, or 42.3% of the total.
Broward County: 1,330 new coronavirus cases reported Tuesday, bringing the total to 32,814. A total of 487 people have died, with no more deaths reported since Sunday.
Palm Beach County: 473 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 22,279. A total of 638 people have died, 13 more since Monday.
Miami-Dade County: 2,090 new cases, bringing the total to 69,803. A total of 1,190 people have died. That’s 32 more than Monday.
The number of people being treated for COVID-19 at hospitals continued to increase. The total is 8,253 patients statewide, as of midday Tuesday. It’s an increase of 181 since Monday, according to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration.
Miami-Dade County has the most people hospitalized, with 1,839, an increase of 33 since Monday. Next is Broward with 1,222, and Palm Beach County with 652.
TESTING TRENDS AND THE POSITIVITY RATE
Since the pandemic began, 291,629 people have tested positive for the virus in Florida. So far, almost 2.7 million people have been tested.
The positivity rate for the 24-hour period is 15%.
The daily positive test rate in Tuesday’s report was 16.1% for Broward County, 22.1% for Miami-Dade and 16% for Palm Beach.
©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)