Florida adds 8,555 coronavirus cases, with nearly 2,000 in Miami-Dade County

©Miami Herald

People line up to be tested for COVID-19 at a testing site at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. - Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post/TNS

MIAMI — Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed 8,555 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 953,300. Also, 72 new resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident toll to 18,157.

One new nonresident death was also announced, bringing the nonresident toll to 226, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

Florida has the third highest number of total confirmed cases in the country after Texas and California, according to The New York Times COVID-19 database.

Miami-Dade County reported 1,852 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and seven new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The county has a total of 218,294 confirmed cases and 3,789 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 7.15% to 7.73%.

Broward County reported 891 additional confirmed cases and one new death. The county now has a known total of 102,638 cases and 1,630 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 6.34% to 6.86%.

Palm Beach County saw 419 additional confirmed cases and four new deaths. The county now has 62,697 confirmed cases and 1,663 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 6.44% to 6.01%.

Monroe County confirmed 17 additional cases and no new deaths. The county has a known total of 3,157 cases and 27 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 9.26% to 5.48%.

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 3:02 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, there were 3,780 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This is a big jump from what the state was reporting last month though it’s still fewer than in early August, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state.

Of Tuesday’s hospitalizations, 535 were in Miami-Dade, 387 in Broward, 270 in Palm Beach and six in Monroe, according to the agency.

The state has had a total of 53,827 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 Tuesday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 119,979 people tested Monday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) increased from 7.02% to 7.47%.

If retests are included — people who have tested positive once and are being tested for a second time — the positivity rate increased from 8.92% to 9.20%, according to the report.


©2020 Miami Herald