Florida’s Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed 2,145 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 762,534. Also, 105 resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident death toll to 16,210.
It is still unclear if there were any new nonresident deaths. On Wednesday, the cumulative nonresident toll was at 203.
Wednesday’s coronavirus report came later then usual as Florida’s Surgeon General Scott Rivkees announced that an additional review process for COVID-19 deaths will be implemented after the newest reported deaths had discrepancies.
Of the new deaths reported, 11 were over 30 days old; 16 had at least two months between the time the person tested positive and passed away; and five had at least three months between the time the person tested positive and died.
“During a pandemic, the public must be able to rely on accurate public health data to make informed decisions,” Rivkees said. “To ensure the accuracy of COVID-19 related deaths, the Department will be performing additional reviews of all deaths. Timely and accurate data remains a top priority of the Department of Health.”
The DOH said fatality data consistently “presents confusion and warrants a more rigorous review.” Health officials did not give any further detail on the review or if it would cause future state coronavirus reports to be posted later in the day.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida
Note: The Florida Department of Health says that each county’s percent positivity for new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) does not include retests (people who have tested positive once and are being tested for a second time).
▪ Miami-Dade County reported 358 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The county now has 179,644 confirmed cases and 3,572 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 5.05% to 5.15%.
▪ Broward County reported 167 additional confirmed cases of the disease and two new deaths. The county has a known total of 81,704 cases and 1,519 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 4.39% to 5.88%.
▪ Palm Beach County saw 82 additional confirmed cases and 43 new deaths. The county now has 49,380 confirmed cases and 1,553 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 5.47% to 4.59%.
▪ Monroe County confirmed eight additional cases and no new deaths. The county has a known total of 2,101 cases and 25 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 14.14% to 6.18%.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida
One of the tools that officials rely on to determine whether the coronavirus situation is improving in the state is hospitalization data. Unlike testing, which might be limited or take 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 6:46 p.m. Wednesday, there were 2,125 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard, a rise of 100 compared to Tuesday at that time. This is still a significant decrease from early August, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state. Of Wednesday’s hospitalizations, the number of patients grew in all four counties. There were 273 in Miami-Dade, 209 in Broward, 112 in Palm Beach and eight in Monroe, according to the agency.
Florida’s current hospitalization data does not always match the hospitalization data reported in Miami-Dade’s “New Normal” dashboard. Officials say this could be for a number of reasons, including the frequency of daily updates. On Wednesday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications increased from 327 to 340, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard. According to Wednesday’s data, 35 people were discharged and 48 people were admitted.
The state has had a total of 47,628 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.
COVID-19 Testing in Florida
Testing in Florida has seen steady growth since the COVID-19 crisis began.
Testing, like hospitalizations, helps officials determine the virus’ progress and plays a role in deciding whether it is safe to lift stay-at-home orders and loosen restrictions.
Epidemiologists then 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 if it means there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.
On Wednesday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 34,718 people tested on Tuesday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) increased from 6.15% to 6.74%.
This breaking news article will be updated.