Hillsborough tallies more than 2,000 coronavirus cases as Manatee passes 1,000
Tampa Bay area COVID-19 cases as of May 28, 2020.

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Is Tampa Bay becoming the next coronavirus hotspot?

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Hillsborough County climbed over 2,000 Thursday. Neighboring Manatee County cracked the 1,000-case threshold.

It puts the two counties on a leaderboard nobody wants to occupy.

Hillsborough is only the fourth county in Florida to surpass 2,000 cases.

A Department of Health dashboard shows 2,019 cases through Thursday morning, including 1,960 residents and 59 non-residents visiting at the time of diagnosis. Some 410 of those cases were serious enough to require hospitalization, and 76 of the residents ultimately died from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Manatee County became the ninth Florida County to surpass 1,000 cases, reaching 1,007 as of Thursday morning. A round 1,000 of those were county residents. The county has actually seen more deaths than Hillsborough, with 95 residents killed by the disease and 209 have been hospitalized in the county.

Notably, a Manatee County resident was the first patient in Florida publicly revealed to have contracted the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 disease. That patient was being treated at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, prompting the institution to reveal in a memo to staff and patients that an individual was in isolation there.

It was clear even then the individual had contracted the virus through “community spread,” and had not traveled recently.

Hillsborough County has aggressively stepped up testing, opening multiple drive-up sites.

A closer look at cases shows the greatest infection numbers around Tampa. The 33612 ZIP code, which includes parts of Tampa, Carrollwood, Lake Magdalene and University, is home to 183 cases on its own, and the 33619 ZIP code, serving Tampa, Brandon, East Lake-Orient Park, Palm River-Clair Mel and Progress Village, has 100 cases.

Meanwhile, the worst Manatee County outbreak can be found in the 34208 ZIP code, with parts of Bradenton, Ellenton and Samoset, where a total of 247 cases have been reported.

The median age for Hillsborough County patients is 50, while in Manatee it’s 59. That’s no great surprise considering outbreaks in nursing homes plaguing the Bradenton area.

Add Pinellas County and the tri-county area represents 4,244 of the total 53,285 statewide cases.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


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