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Manatee Co. leads caseload group in Southwest Florida

Region as a whole saw over 1,000 new cases Friday.

More than 1,000 positive tests for new COVID-19 cases came back Friday in Southwest Florida alone. But there were only two new deaths reported overnight.

As the entire state dealt with another heavy day of diagnoses, the region where Florida’s first coronavirus case was reported made up a substantial number of new cases.

Manatee County reported the greatest spike, with 272 new cases on Friday. That brings total cases in the county to 2,642. Of those, 129 have died.

At this point, more than 1 in 100 Manatee County residents has tested positive for COVID-19. But the median age of patients has gone downward, to about 41 years old. For new cases reported Friday, the median age was 37.

That’s good news in a sense for a community that a few weeks ago was asking for help from the National Guard dealing with nursing home outbreaks. Still, 88 of the deaths in the county occurred with residents or staff for long-term care facilities, representing 5% of all nursing home and assisted living community deaths in Florida.

Lee County, the most populous in the 10-county region, continues to have the highest number of total cases, with 4,840. A total of 152 deaths from the disease occurred there, including the first in Florida.

And an outbreak in Immokalee continues to cause problems in Collier and Hendry counties. The zip code, which spans both counties, that serves the community reported 1,418 total cases in a population of about 31,000 people.

At this point, greater than 2.2% of all Hendry County residents have tested positive for the disease. That’s the third highest infection rate for any Florida county, behind Liberty County (2.6% of all residents) and Hamilton County (2.3%). Ten in the county have died.

The outbreak has been among one of the worst in Florida impacting migrant farm communities. More than 73% of patients in Hendry identify as Hispanic. In Collier County, which also includes more populated areas like Naples, almost 48% of all COVID-19 patients identify as Hispanic.

As of 6-27-20

Written By

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 jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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