At least 371 Floridians have now died from coronavirus complications after state health officials confirmed an additional 48 fatalities Thursday.
On top of the 31 deaths confirmed in the morning’s report, two of whom were later removed, the Department of Health confirmed 19 new fatalities by the evening. And now 16,826 people, including 503 non-Floridians, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, up 1,128 from the night before.
An additional 216 — 2,298 total — have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since Wednesday’s evening report.
South Florida remains the largest hot spot of the disease in the state. More than half of the state’s coronavirus cases are in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
In Miami-Dade, 5,898 people have contracted the coronavirus, an increase of 434 over Wednesday evening. Miami alone has 3,587 cases and is the only Florida city with more than 1,000 cases. Broward has 2,480 cases, up from 2,365, and Palm Beach has 1,333, up from 1,224.
The elderly and people with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, are most at risk for a severe case. While people 65 and older make up a quarter of confirmed cases, 55% of those hospitalized were at least 65, as were 83% of those who passed away.
While only 2% of cases among Florida residents have turned fatal, 8% of people aged 65 and older have passed away, and 19% of those 85 and up have died. Palm Beach County has the highest concentration of fatal cases, now with 75.
Long-term care facilities saw more than 100 new cases in a day for the first time, now with 578 cases among residents and staff at those facilities. The percent increase of daily coronavirus cases in those facilities outpace the daily statewide increase.
DOH now has the results of 156,852 coronavirus tests, up from 143,707 Wednesday. At least 1,523 people await their results.
The state only received the results of 7,066 individuals Wednesday, the fewest since March 28. But 18% of those tests returned positive, an increase of 8 percentage points over results returned the day before.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has directed officials to spot check nursing homes and assisted living facilities, possibly contributing to the discovery of new cases.
In at least one Florida prison, there is evidence of COVID-19 community spread. The Blackwater River facility in Milton, which had four cases Wednesday, now has 30 cases, according to the Department of Corrections, representing by far the biggest movement in prison-related cases.
The Governor and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran are still weighing whether to delay the return date for K-12 students again with the state now less than a month away from the slated May 4 return. If all signs suggest the pandemic is headed in the right direction, they hope to have students back before the school year ends, they said Thursday.
According to numbers published Thursday, 169,885 Floridians filed for unemployment last week, the second-most ever after the previous week’s record-smashing 228,484 applicants. The state, which has struggled for weeks to overcome a failing unemployment claims application system, has launched a paper alternative and, on Wednesday, a new website.
The Connect site, DeSantis said, handled between 35,000 and 50,000 submissions Wednesday after the state expanded its service capacity, and a new parallel site handled 50,000 more applications.
Nationally, 6.6 million people sought unemployment benefits last week. More than one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Below are the 19 fatalities reported since Thursday morning and the county’s death toll to date:
Broward: 67 total
— 96-year-old male
— 66-year-old male who had traveled to New Jersey
(a 56-year-old male was removed)
Charlotte: 4 total
— 78-year-old female who had traveled to Illinois and had contact with a known case
— 92-year-old male who had contact with a known case
— 78-year-old female who had contact with a known case
Citrus: 6 total
— 73-year-old female who had contact with a known case
Manatee: 11 total
— 75-year-old male
Miami-Dade: 66 total
— 47-year-old male
— 55-year-old male
— 58-year-old male
— 72-year-old female who had contact with a known case
(a 92-year-old female who had traveled to New Jersey was removed)
Orange: 13 total
— 76-year-old male who had traveled to New York and had contact with a known case
— 85-year-old female
Osceola: 5 total
— 69-year-old male
Palm Beach: 75 total
— 81-year-old male
— 89-year-old person
Polk: 7 total
— 49-year-old female
Sarasota: 10 total
— 82-year-old male
— 88-year-old female