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First coronavirus death reported in Hillsborough County

New cases in Hillsborough County jumped 19 overnight, 10 in Pinellas.

The first person in Hillsborough County has died of COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Florida Department of Health.

A spokesperson for the Hillsborough County health department did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the person’s age, gender or transmission method.

The county’s number of infected patients also jumped 19 over night, from 123 yesterday evening to 142 this morning. That number includes 136 Hillsborough residents.

Patients who tested positive in the county range in age from three to 86.

The largest age group affected in Hillsborough are people ages 25-34 with 29 cases, suggesting previous claims that elderly people are more susceptible might not be as concrete as health officials had thought.

Supplies are limited, leaving only those with symptoms accessing tests. The number also supports fears among Hillsborough County officials that younger people were not abiding by social distancing recommendations, leaving them at greater risk of contracting the virus.

The next two highest age ranges were 35-44 and 45-54 with 26 cases each. The 55-64 demographic has 19 cases, 65-74 has 12 cases and 75-84 has five.

Youngsters age 5-14 have tested positive only four times while one three year old has tested positive. Only one individual over the age of 85 has tested positive.

The county has tested a total of 2,268 individuals and has just eight cases pending.

Pinellas County, meanwhile, has far fewer cases, but that could be because of a lack of testing.

The county now has 64 reported cases of the coronavirus, up 10 from Wednesday evening.

But only 1,205 people have been tested in Pinellas, a little more than half of those in Hillsborough.

The county has 40 tests still pending.

Another 1,205 people are being monitored for the virus.

One person in the county has died and 19 have been hospitalized.

Both counties are moving forward with increased social distancing measures. Pinellas County’s “safer at home” resolution goes into effect at noon Thursday. It requires individuals and businesses to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on social distancing with potential penalties and legal repercussions for violators. A similar order in Hillsborough County is expected to go into effect Friday at 10 p.m., pending approval from the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group.

Both orders are aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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