Florida sees more than 9,000 new COVID-19 cases, nearly 2,000 of them in Miami-Dade

©Miami Herald

People stand in line to be tested at the COVID-19 mobile testing facility at Miami Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. - DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS

MIAMI — Florida’s Department of Health on Thursday confirmed 9,085 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 914,333. Also, 79 resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident death toll to 17,810.

On Thursday, the cumulative nonresident toll was 220, an increase of two from Wednesday.

Miami-Dade County reported 1,945 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and seven new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The county has a total of 209,166 confirmed cases and 3,738 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 8.22% to 8.09%.

Broward County reported 902 additional confirmed cases and three new deaths. The county now has a known total of 98,377 cases and 1,611 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 7.85% to 6.92%.

Palm Beach County saw 563 additional confirmed cases and three new deaths. The county now has 60,219 confirmed cases and 1,644 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 8.85% to 7.21%.

Monroe County confirmed 73 additional cases and no new deaths. The county has a known total of 2,965 cases and holds at 25 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 11.51% to 11.78%.

One of the tools officials rely on to determine whether the coronavirus situation is improving in the state is hospitalization data. Unlike testing, which might be limited or takes days to report results, hospitalizations can help give officials a real-time snapshot of how many people are severely ill with COVID-19.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reports the number of patients hospitalized statewide with a “primary diagnosis of COVID.” The data, which is updated at least every hour, does not distinguish between the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units and those in acute-care beds, which require less attention from nurses.

Previously, the state was providing only the total number of hospitalizations in its statewide and county-level data. Miami-Dade was an exception, with hospitals self-reporting a number of key metrics, including hospitalizations, to the county, which has made this data public for several months.

As of 4:15 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, there were 3,383 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This is a decrease from early August, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state.

The state has had a total of 52,865 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

Testing in Florida has seen steady growth since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Testing, like hospitalizations, helps officials determine the virus’s progress and plays a role in deciding whether it is safe to lift stay-at-home orders and loosen restrictions.

Epidemiologists use the testing data to create a positivity rate. The rate helps them determine if a rise in cases is because of an increase in testing or whether there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.

On Thursday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 131,718 people tested on Wednesday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) decreased from 8.14% to 7.58%.

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©2020 Miami Herald

Vehicles line up as healthcare workers help people check in for testing at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Miami Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. - DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS
DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS
DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS
DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS
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 Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. - DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS
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 Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. - DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS
DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS
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 Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. - DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS