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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 the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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