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Coronavirus in Florida: 2,539 new cases, 50 deaths reported

The statewide percent positivity for new cases is just under 5 percent.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health reported 2,539 new cases of COVID-19 for Oct. 17 in its latest statewide report.

It's a number that bucks a five-day trend of an increasing case count, however, weekends do tend to show lower numbers -- new cases and the number of Florida residents tested per day, too.

Still, the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing: Sunday's report brings the total to 755,020 COVID-19 cases statewide since March. Nationally, the trend of new COVID-19 infections continues to trend higher, with the number of cases reported daily the highest since July.

RELATED: US has 60,000 new coronavirus cases for 1st time in 2 months

The state also reported another 50 Floridians had died after testing positive for coronavirus. That brings the total to 15,967 residents and 201 non-residents who have died since the pandemic began.

Those numbers do not necessarily mean those people died Saturday but rather the state learned of their deaths and added the numbers to the report that day. The state's line-by-line report, which you can read here, lists coronavirus deaths by the date the people tested positive for the virus, not the date they passed.

Credit: Florida Department of Health

As for new data on testing, the health department said 4.68 percent of 57,765 test results returned from labs were positive for COVID-19 through Oct. 17.

The median age of Floridians testing positive is 39.

The positivity rate is one piece of data health experts analyze to determine how well an area is doing in combating the coronavirus and conducting tests. The World Health Organization has repeatedly said the percent positive should remain at 5 percent or lower for a 14-day span in order for further reopening to be recommended.   

When it comes to hospitalizations, 1,995 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis as of Sunday morning. Of those, 463 patients were in the Tampa Bay area.

A total of 46,976 people in Florida have been hospitalized with the virus at some point during the pandemic.

Here's a breakdown of new coronavirus cases reported to the state:

  • June 21: 2,926 
  • June 22: 3,286
  • June 23: 5,508
  • June 24: 5,004
  • June 25: 8,942
  • June 26: 9,585
  • June 27: 8,530
  • June 28: 5,266
  • June 29: 6,093
  • June 30: 6,563
  • July 1: 10,109
  • July 2: 9,488
  • July 3: 11,458 
  • July 4: 10,059
  • July 5: 6,336
  • July 6: 7,347
  • July 7: 9,989
  • July 8: 8,935
  • July 9: 11,433
  • July 10: 10,360
  • July 11: 15,300
  • July 12: 12,624
  • July 13: 9,194
  • July 14: 10,181
  • July 15: 13,965
  • July 16: 11,466
  • July 17: 10,328
  • July 18: 12,478
  • July 19: 10,347
  • July 20: 9,440
  • July 21: 9,785
  • July 22: 10,249
  • July 23: 12,444
  • July 24: 12,199
  • July 25: 9,344
  • July 26: 8,892
  • July 27: 9,230
  • July 28: 9,446
  • July 29: 9,956
  • July 30: 8,989
  • July 31: 9,643
  • August 1: 7,104
  • August 2: 4,752
  • August 3: 5,446
  • August 4: 5,409
  • August 5: 7,650
  • August 6: 7,686
  • August 7: 8,502
  • August 8: 6,229
  • August 9: 4,155
  • August 10: 5,831
  • August 11: 8,109
  • August 12: 6,236
  • August 13: 6,148
  • August 14: 6,352
  • August 15: 3,779
  • August 16: 2,678
  • August 17: 3,838
  • August 18: 4,115
  • August 19: 4,555
  • August 20: 4,684
  • August 21: 4,311
  • August 22: 2,974
  • August 23: 2,258
  • August 24: 2,673
  • August 25: 3,220
  • August 26: 3,269
  • August 27: 3,815
  • August 28: 3,197
  • August 29: 2,583
  • August 30: 1,885
  • August 31: 7,569 (Quest Diagnostics backlog)*
  • September 1: 2,402
  • September 2: 3,571
  • September 3: 3,198
  • September 4: 3,656
  • September 5: 2,564  
  • September 6: 1,838
  • September 7: 1,823
  • September 8: 2,056
  • September 9: 2,583
  • September 10: 3,650
  • September 11: 3,190
  • September 12: 2,423
  • September 13: 1,736
  • September 14: 3,116
  • September 15: 2,355
  • September 16: 3,255
  • September 17: 3,204
  • September 18: 3,573
  • September 19: 2,521
  • September 20: 1,685
  • September 21: 2,470
  • September 22: 2,590
  • September 23: 2,541
  • September 24: 2,847
  • September 25: 2,795
  • September 26: 1,882
  • September 27: 738
  • September 28: 3,266
  • September 29: 1,948
  • September 30: 2,628
  • October 1: 2,660
  • October 2: 2,811
  • October 3: 1,868
  • October 4: 1,415
  • October 5: 2,241
  • October 6: 2,582
  • October 7: 3,306
  • October 8: 2,908
  • October 9: No daily report due to Dept. of Health technical issue*
  • October 10: 5,570
  • October 11: 1,533
  • October 12: 2,725
  • October 13: 2,883
  • October 14: 3,356
  • October 15: 3,449
  • October 16: 4,044
  • October 17: 2,539

Breaking down the numbers

For the month of August, daily reported COVID-19 cases in Florida remained under 10,000. And, for more than a week, daily new cases were under 4,000.

That changed with the report for Aug. 31. A backlog* of nearly 75,000 test results from Quest Diagnostics was added to that day's report, which resulted in 7,569 new cases reported. Failure to report those test results earlier, most of which were more than two weeks old, with some dating all the way back to April, caused the Department of Health to sever all ties with Quest, according to the state.

Florida on Aug. 22 became the second state to cross the 600,000 reported COVID-19 cases mark. As of Oct. 17, California has had more than 871,000 cases. Texas has more than 843,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Since Sept. 1, daily reported COVID-19 cases have stayed below 4,000 until Oct. 16. Florida has not reported a single-day new case number at or higher than 10,000 since late July.

By Sept. 26, the United States passed 7 million coronavirus cases, the highest recorded number in the world, CBS News reported. Just about a month prior, on Aug. 31, the United States passed 6 million coronavirus cases, according to the Associated Press. That was a little more than three weeks after the country surpassed 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Aug. 9.

Data for Oct. 10 was not individually released because of a technical issue. The health department on Saturday said the error was because of a data dump of approximately 400,000 previously-reported test results from a private lab. The state clarified Tuesday that the error was a technical issue and not the fault of Helix Laboratory.

The state needed to de-duplicate hundreds of thousands of results, and the daily COVID-19 report resumed on Oct. 11.

RELATED: Florida DOH: COVID-19 data reporting delay caused by technical issue, not private lab

The highest single-day case number Florida has reported so far is 15,300 for July 11. The lowest single-day case number the state has reported since early June is 738 confirmed on Sept. 28.

The state's report released on Aug. 11 of 277 newly confirmed deaths was the highest seen from the state in a single day's report. 

The state recently added a section to its daily report (on page 5) that shows deaths by date of death. This data has been reported daily on Florida's COVID-19 dashboard. The graph for deaths by date of death is subject to change, though, because the information reported to the state can be delayed up to two weeks. So, for consistency, our charts have stuck to new deaths added by the date they were added. For transparency, you can always reference the state's data here.

The positivity rate is crucial for reopening. The World Health Organization has repeatedly said it must remain at 5 percent or lower for a 14-day span for the agency to recommend reopening. 

However, it can be somewhat misleading: The number of people tested statewide varies each day, and the percent positives have ranged from a high of near 7 percent and a low of under 5 percent recently. Health officials say they would like to see a high -- but steady -- number of people tested every day and a suppressed percent positivity figure.  

Until Aug. 21, Florida had not seen a positivity rate at 5 percent since the beginning of June. In July, the state reported positivity rates at double and even triple that recommended percentage.

The reports for Aug. 1 and 2, respectively, showed positivity rates below 10 percent for the first time since June 24. In August, the state reported a positivity rate above 10 percent five times.

The positivity rate reported for Oct. 3 (3.74 percent) is the lowest Florida has seen since early June.

On Friday, Sept. 25, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state could move into what was initially called "Phase 3" of its reopening plan. DeSantis signed an order guaranteeing restaurants the right to operate and lifting state-level capacity restrictions on them.

Credit: Florida Department of Health

Hospitalizations and ICU bed availability

New cases have dropped significantly in recent months, but what about hospitalizations?

Tracking hospitalizations got easier on July 10 when the Agency for Health Care Administration began publishing a spreadsheet with the number of people currently checked-in for coronavirus-related complications in Florida. The data only includes people whose "primary diagnosis" was COVID-19.

As of Oct. 18, 1,995 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis statewide, and 463 of them were in the Tampa Bay area. Those numbers are frequently updated, and you can click here for the most recent data, which is also broken down by county.

Since the pandemic began, the state confirms a total of 47,053 residents were hospitalized at some point during their illness.

The Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) also updates total hospital bed and ICU availability by county.

Click here for a breakdown of adult and pediatric ICU bed availability by county. You can also check ICU availability by the hospital.

Hospitalizations around Tampa Bay and total staffed hospital bed capacity status: 

**Data as of 10 a.m. Oct. 18, 2020.

Citrus:

  • 12 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 98 of 297 total staffed hospital beds are available

DeSoto:

  • 0 COVID-19 hospitalization
  • 37 of 55 total staffed hospital beds are available

Hardee:

  • 0 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 2 of 25 total staffed hospital beds are available

Hernando:

  • 23 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 246 of 731 total staffed hospital beds are available

Highlands:

  • 19 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 62 of 255 total staffed hospital beds are available

Hillsborough:

  • 135 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 634 of 3,741 total staffed hospital beds are available

Manatee:

  • 27 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 113 of 759 total staffed hospital beds are available

Pasco:

  • 32 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 246 of 1,309 total staffed hospital beds are available

Pinellas: 

  • 102 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 980 of 3,183 total staffed hospital beds are available

Polk: 

  • 71 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 391 of 1,620 total staffed hospital beds are available

Sarasota: 

  • 42 COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 266 of 1,221 total staffed hospital beds are available

RELATED: Here's where COVID-19 cases have been reported in Tampa Bay schools

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