Florida reports 2,660 new COVID-19 infections and 111 more deaths

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Spector Scientific Lab mobile phlebotomist Shernetta Bryant swabs a man for COVID-19 at a drive-through free testing site in the parking lot of Cheetah Gentleman's Club in Pompano Beach, Florida, on Sept. 29, 2020. - Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s official coronavirus pandemic report for Friday shows another 2,660 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and 111 more people have died from the disease.

These numbers are consistent with trends over the past four weeks, and far below record highs. With testing positivity down to the 5% range, and hospitalizations down since July, Gov. Ron DeSantis moved the state into the Phase 3 reopening a week ago and urged Floridians to resume normal activities without fears of more shutdowns.

Yet now his key Republican ally, President Donald Trump, has COVID-19 and is not coming to Florida on Friday as planned. Trump won’t attend a rally in person at Orlando Sanford International Airport, and his diagnosis has raised doubts about holding the second presidential debate in Miami on Oct. 15.

DeSantis on Friday tweeted his best wishes to the president and first lady Melania Trump, writing, “Hope to see both of them back in Florida very soon.”

Recent COVID-19 data in the state shows a fairly steady pattern of new cases and reported fatalities each day.

The state Department of Health reported five deaths and 738 cases Monday, the lowest figures reported for a single day in the past four months. But the seven-day average is about 92 deaths and 2,300 cases per day.

For the entire pandemic, the state has reported that a total of 711,804 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The deaths of at least 14,730 people in the state have been linked to the disease.

Most of the deaths listed on the state’s daily statistical reports did not happen in the last 24 hours. There is usually a lag of several weeks between the date of death and confirmation as a virus fatality. Test results also take days to be tabulated.

SOUTH FLORIDA

Broward County: 198 additional confirmed coronavirus cases were reported Friday. The county has tallied 77,631 cases and 1,442 deaths, nine more than Thursday’s total.

Palm Beach County: 135 additional cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday. The county has had 46,833 confirmed cases and 1,411 deaths linked to the disease. Six more deaths were reported since Thursday.

Miami-Dade County: 509 additional cases were reported Friday. The county has had a total of 171,391 cases and 3,335 deaths — 30 more than Thursday’s report.

TESTING AND POSITIVITY RATES

At least 5.35 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in Florida since the pandemic began, producing an overall positivity rate of 13.28%, state data show. At least 711,804 people have tested positive and 4.63 million people have tested negative.

In South Florida, the cumulative positivity rates are 18.5% for Miami-Dade County, 13.5% for Broward County and 12.58% for Palm Beach County.

As of Friday, 926,579 people have been swabbed in Miami-Dade, 574,872 people have been tested in Broward, and 372,365 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Palm Beach County.

The COVID-19 daily infection rate for Florida dropped to the lowest level since June 8, records show.

Florida’s latest testing positivity came in at 3.77%, down from 4.64% the previous day. This figure reflects only new infections based on COVID-19 testing for the day; it does not count people who previously tested positive for the disease.

The rate has been below 5% for 11 out of the past 14 days. Public health experts say the virus is under control at this level.

The daily positivity rates also dropped in South Florida, according to the state. It’s 2.93% for Broward County, a decrease from 4.05% the day before; 2.4% for Palm Beach County, down from 4.18%; and 5.11% for Miami-Dade County, down from 5.43%. Again, this is just for new infections only.

Yet another calculation presented by state officials, which includes retests of people who were previously diagnosed, shows a statewide positivity rate of 4.92% based on the latest results.

Friday’s report from the state shows test results for 77,615 Florida residents, after 65,464 results were reported the previous day and 44,810 results came in two days ago.

While Florida reported its daily positivity rate below 5%, other tallies show a higher rate depending on the source and method. For example, Johns Hopkins University reported Florida’s daily positivity rate at an average of about 11% for the past 14 days.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

As of 2 p.m. Friday, 2,056 people across the state were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. The number is down 24 since 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Broward County reported 204 patients hospitalized, an increase of two; Palm Beach County had 105, which is down by five; and Miami-Dade had the most in the state with 277, a decrease of three.

The online report from the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates several times throughout the day. Hospitalizations hit a peak in late July of more than 9,000 patients.

Since the pandemic began, a total of 44,489 residents have been hospitalized for the disease in Florida, according to a separate report by the state health department.

DEATHS

Statewide: The official COVID-19 report, updated Friday, shows 14,554 Florida resident deaths. In addition, 176 non-resident deaths have been attributed to the virus in the state. The state does not say whether the victims had underlying health conditions.

Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is eleventh among states in the nation, tied with Georgia, with 67 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s higher than the national rate of 63 deaths per 100,000 people.

Long-term care facilities: At least 5,935 deaths have occurred among residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted-living centers throughout Florida. That’s 47 more than reported Thursday.

Miami-Dade County has had the highest number of deaths at long-term care facilities, with 808, seven more than the previous day; Palm Beach County is up to 607 deaths, three more than on Thursday; and Broward has had 410 deaths, one more than Thursday.

NATIONAL AND GLOBAL VIEW

U.S.: More than 7.31 million people in the country have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 208,403 have died as of about 3:30 p.m. Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

World: At least 34.4 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,025,183 people have died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins. The United States has had the most COVID-19 cases and deaths of any country. The U.S. has 4.3% of the world’s population, but 21.2% of the world’s cases and 20.3% of the world’s deaths.

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©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)