FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida heath officials on Saturday reported the deaths of 98 more people from COVID-19. The state also revealed that 3,190 more people have tested positive for the infectious disease for the first time.
Both numbers are lower than Friday, and are well below the state’s coronavirus pandemic record totals of 277 deaths reported on Aug. 11 and 15,300 cases on July 12.
Improving data trends, which include weeks of declines in testing positivity rates and hospitalizations for COVID-19, are fueling a reopening boom across the state and in hard-hit South Florida.
As of Monday, the counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach all will be in Phase 2, with fewer business restrictions.
Public health officials warn the virus remains a serious threat across the nation, and it could be a long winter combined with the typical flu season as more people are in contact.
This week Florida officials reported a daily average report of 113 deaths from COVID-19, up from 102 deaths per day during the previous week, according to statistics released Saturday.
But it’s much lower than the seven-day average of 178 deaths per day for the week ending Aug. 1. Each day, the state confirms the deaths of people that died from the virus at some point in recent weeks.
As of Saturday, 12,600 Floridians have died from COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health. There have been at least 5,422 deaths in South Florida. Officials do not show how many of the victims had underlying conditions.
Saturday’s new case total is less than Friday’s 3,650 cases, but it’s higher than the 2,583 cases announced Thursday, the 2,056 cases on Wednesday and 1,823 cases on Tuesday — the lowest total in nearly three months.
The state has been experiencing an overall downward trend of infections; four weeks ago more than 6,000 people a day tested positive.
Broward County: 189 new coronavirus cases were reported Saturday, bringing the total to 74,273. At least 1,305 people in Broward were reported to have died, three more than Friday’s total.
Palm Beach County: 149 new cases were reported Saturday, bringing the total to 43,873. A total of 1,215 deaths were reported, three more than the previous day.
Miami-Dade County: 415 new cases were reported Saturday, bringing the total to 163,790. A total of 2,902 people in Miami-Dade were reported to have died from COVID-19. That’s 46 more than Friday’s total.
Testing and positivity rate
As of Saturday, more than 4.9 million people have been tested for COVID-19 statewide, producing an overall positivity rate of 13.48%, state data show. At least 661,571 people have tested positive; more than 4.24 million people have tested negative.
The latest state report shows the daily positivity rate at 4.44%, down from 5.50% the previous two days. This figure reflects only new infections based on COVID-19 testing for the day; it doesn’t count people who previously tested positive for the disease.
Statewide positivity has been hovering around 5% for three weeks — the level where medical experts say the virus is under control. Saturday’s positivity is the lowest on any day since June 13, records show.
In South Florida, the overall positivity rates are 19.09% for Miami-Dade County, 13.94% for Broward County, and 12.83% for Palm Beach County.
The daily positivity rates reported on Saturday were 2.69% for Broward County, down from 3.12% the previous day; 3.06% for Palm Beach County, down from 4.60%; and 4.72% for Miami-Dade County, down from 4.85%.
Saturday’s data report shows test results for 79,168 Florida residents, up from 73,826 results reported the previous day, and 51,295 results two days ago.
The latest Florida data concerning COVID-19 infections among children under age 18 show 375,145 have been swabbed since the beginning of the pandemic. About 14.3% of them, or 53,717, tested positive, according to statistics released Friday morning.
It’s an increase of 1,756 cases over one week.
This report also shows 672 children have been treated in hospitals for COVID-19 illness; eight have died. The death total has not changed in over three weeks.
South Florida’s three biggest counties have had 22,712 cases involving children. This includes: 11,656 cases in Miami-Dade County, highest in the state, with a 19.6% positivity rate; 7,676 cases in Broward, with a 16.9% positivity; and 3,380 cases in Palm Beach County, with a 14.1% positivity.
Since the pandemic began, a total of 41,215 residents have been hospitalized for the disease in Florida, according to the Department of Health.
As of 12:30 p.m. Saturday, 2,683 people were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 across the state. Broward County reported 297 patients; Palm Beach County had 146; and Miami-Dade had 448, the most in the state.
The online report from the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates several times throughout the day. Hospitalizations have been declining since they hit a peak in late July.
Statewide: The official COVID-19 report, updated Saturday, shows 12,600 Florida resident deaths. In addition, 156 nonresident deaths have been attributed to the virus in the state.
Long-term care facilities: At least 5,192 deaths have occurred among residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted-living centers throughout the state — 26 more than the total reported Friday.
Miami-Dade County has the highest number of people who died at the facilities, with 760; Palm Beach County has reported 519 deaths, and Broward has had 376 deaths.
World: The novel coronavirus has infected more than 28.5 million people and killed at least 916,715 worldwide as of 12:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
U.S.: The United States has 6.45 million cases, the highest total in the world, with at least 193,215 deaths, the most of any country. The U.S. has 4.3% of the world’s population, but 22.6% of the world’s cases and 21.1% of the world’s deaths.
©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)