FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Newly reported cases of coronavirus infection in Florida were down on Sunday, just two days after the state moved into the third and final phase of its reopening.
Since the pandemic began, Florida has tallied 700,564 COVID-19 cases. Most people have recovered, but 14,202 have died — including 170 nonresidents.
Florida’s health officials reported 1,882 new coronavirus cases Sunday and another 12 deaths. That’s a sharp decline from the day before, when the state reported 2,795 new cases and 107 deaths.
Most of these deaths happened weeks ago, but were just confirmed as virus fatalities.
The numbers reported Sunday represent a steep decline from the state’s coronavirus pandemic record totals of 277 deaths reported on Aug. 11 and 15,300 cases on July 12.
Cases in Florida have been on a downward trend in September after spiking in July.
Experts have warned of a possible surge in cases this winter, but Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday the state was ready to move into the third phase of recovery that allows bars and restaurants to operate at full capacity.
DeSantis pointed to a decline in cases and hospitalizations along with the daily testing positivity rate still hovering below 5%. That low positivity rate is a sign of reduced spread of the coronavirus, experts say.
The move into phase 3 paves the way for restaurants to open at full capacity, with some exceptions. Bars, nightclubs and strip clubs can also open for business.
In Broward County, restaurants can reopen bar counters, but can’t serve alcohol from there. Parties will still need to be seated 6 feet apart and customers will need to wear masks while walking through the restaurant.
In Miami-Dade County, only restaurants with enough room to keep 6 feet between tables will be permitted to reach 100% capacity. All others will need to remain at 50% capacity.
Bars in Miami-Dade with only counter service can open but will need to keep crowds to 50% capacity. And clubs with dancing will need to require that patrons wear masks while on the dance floor.
Palm Beach County had already planned to allow bars to reopen on Oct. 5. But with the governor’s order, Palm Beach County officials allowed bars to reopen Friday at half capacity. Social distancing rules and a mask mandate are still in effect.
Over the past seven days, Florida has reported an average of 106 deaths and an average of 2,401 cases on the daily data reports.
The state’s seven-day average of reported deaths was 105 on Sept. 6. And on Sept. 8, the seven-day average of cases was at 2,722.
More than 7 million people in the U.S. have been infected with the novel coronavirus, and 204,566 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
Worldwide, at least 32.9 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, and 995,352 people have died from the highly infectious disease.
TESTING AND POSITIVITY RATES
More than 5.26 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in Florida since the pandemic began, producing an overall positivity rate of 13.32%, state data show. At least 700,564 people have tested positive and 4.55 million people have tested negative.
In South Florida, the cumulative positivity rates are 18.59% for Miami-Dade County, 13.61% for Broward County and 12.65% for Palm Beach County. As of Sunday, 911,360 people have been swabbed in Miami-Dade, 564,572 people have been tested in Broward, and 365,973 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Palm Beach County.
State officials on Sunday reported the daily testing positivity rate for Florida was below 5% for the fourth straight day.
The data show the daily positivity at 4.08%, down from 4.13% 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 14 out of the past 16 days, dipping to 3.85% on Sept. 13, the lowest in three months. Public health experts say the virus is under control at this level.
The daily positivity rates reported Sunday were 3.6%, up from 2.98% the previous day; 3.02% for Palm Beach County, down from 3.20%; and 4.26% for Miami-Dade County, up from 4.03%.
Sunday’s report from the state shows test results for 45,979 Florida residents, down from 72,903 reported on Saturday and 72,070 results reported on Friday. The results include retests of people who were previously diagnosed.
As of 2 p.m. Sunday, 2,104 people across the state were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. The number is up by five since 1 p.m. Saturday.
Broward County reported 202 patients currently hospitalized; Palm Beach County had 121; and Miami-Dade had the most in the state with 269.
The online report from the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates several times throughout the day. Hospitalizations have been going down since hitting a peak in late July.
Since the pandemic began, a total of 43,533 state residents have been hospitalized for the disease in Florida, the Department of Health says.
Statewide: The official COVID-19 report, updated Sunday, shows 14,032 Florida resident deaths. In addition, 170 nonresident deaths have been attributed to the virus in the state. The state does not say whether the victims had underlying health conditions.
Long-term care facilities: At least 5,720 deaths have occurred among residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted-living centers throughout Florida. That’s seven more than reported Saturday.
No new deaths were reported on Sunday by long-term care facilities in South Florida. Miami-Dade County reported the highest number of deaths at these facilities, with 795; Palm Beach County reported 585, and Broward 398.
NATIONAL AND GLOBAL VIEW
U.S.: More than 7 million people in the country have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 204,566 have died as of 12:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
World: At least 32.9 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 995,352 people have died from the disease, says Johns Hopkins. The U.S. has had the most COVID-19 cases and deaths of any country. The U.S. has 4.3% of the world’s population, but 21.5% of the world’s cases and 20.6% of the world’s deaths.
Other countries with high COVID-19 death tolls are Brazil with 141,406, India with 94,503, Mexico with 76,243 and the United Kingdom with 42,077.
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