The COVID-19 daily infection rate for Florida again dropped under 5% on Thursday, according to the state’s latest coronavirus pandemic data. Remaining at this level means the prevalence of the virus appears low enough for society to be open, according to public health experts.
Also Thursday, Florida also reported that another 2,628 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and 131 more people have died from the disease. These numbers are consistent with trends over the past four weeks.
Florida’s latest testing positivity came in at 4.65%, down from 5.01% 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.
But the daily positivity rates were up in South Florida, according to the state Department of Health. It’s 4.16% for Broward County, an increase from 2.56% the day before; 4.26% for Palm Beach County, up from 3.1%; and 5.43% for Miami-Dade County, up from 4.84%. Again, this is just for new infections only.
Yet another calculation presented by state officials, which includes retests of people who were previously diagnosed, shows a statewide positivity rate of 5.98% based on the latest results.
Thursday’s report from the state shows test results for 65,474 Florida residents, after 44,810 results were reported the previous day and 70,867 results came in two days ago.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 data watchers at Johns Hopkins University have published a higher daily positivity for Florida that averages about 11% for the past 14 days. This is based on a calculation using a smaller number of test results.
For the entire pandemic, the state has reported that a total of 709,144 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The deaths of at least 14,619 people in the state have been linked to the disease.
Most of the deaths listed on the state’s daily statistical reports did not happen in the last 24 hours. There is usually a lag of several weeks between the date of death and confirmation as a virus fatality.
Over the past seven days, Florida has reported an average of 100 deaths and an average of 2,300 cases on the daily data reports.
Broward County: 213 additional confirmed coronavirus cases were reported Thursday. The county has tallied 77,433 cases and 1,433 deaths, 10 more than Wednesday’s total.
Palm Beach County: 146 additional cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday. The county has had 46,698 confirmed cases and 1,404 deaths linked to the disease. Fourteen more deaths were reported since Wednesday.
Miami-Dade County: 482 additional cases were reported Thursday. The county has had a total of 170,882 cases and 3,305 deaths — four more than Wednesday’s report.
Testing and positivity rates
At least 5.33 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in Florida since the pandemic began, producing an overall positivity rate of 13.3%, state data show. At least 709,144 people have tested positive and 4.61 million people have tested negative.
In South Florida, the cumulative positivity rates are 18.52% for Miami-Dade County, 13.53% for Broward County and 12.6% for Palm Beach County.
As of Thursday, 922,532 people have been swabbed in Miami-Dade, 572,213 people have been tested in Broward, and 370,700 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Palm Beach County.
As of 2:30 p.m. Thursday, 2,080 people across the state were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. The number is down five since 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Broward County reported 202 patients hospitalized, an increase of 16; Palm Beach County had 110, which is down by one; and Miami-Dade had the most in the state with 280, an increase of 11.
The online report from the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates several times throughout the day. Hospitalizations hit a peak in late July of more than 9,000 patients.
Since the pandemic began, a total of 44,320 residents have been hospitalized for the disease in Florida, according to a separate report by the state health department.
Statewide: The official COVID-19 report, updated Thursday, shows 14,444 Florida resident deaths. In addition, 175 non-resident deaths have been attributed to the virus in the state. The state does not say whether the victims had underlying health conditions.
Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is eleventh among states in the nation, with 67 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s higher than the national rate of 62 deaths per 100,000 people.
Long-term care facilities: At least 5,888 deaths have occurred among residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted-living centers throughout Florida. That’s 53 more than reported Wednesday.
Miami-Dade County has had the highest number of deaths at long-term care facilities, with 801, two more than the previous day; Palm Beach County is up to 604 deaths, four more than on Wednesday; and Broward has had 409 deaths, three more than Wednesday.
National and global view
U.S.: More than 7.25 million people in the country have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 207,374 have died as of about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
World: At least 34.1 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,016,167 people have died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins. The United States has had the most COVID-19 cases and deaths of any country. The U.S. has 4.3% of the world’s population, but 21.27% of the world’s cases and 20.4% of the world’s deaths.
Marc Freeman can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @marcjfreeman.