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19 more dead from COVID-19 in Hillsborough County

The rate of positive tests was also high at 19.7%.

Hillsborough County added 19 new deaths in a 24-hour period, according to Florida Department of Health data released Thursday.

The county’s COVID-19 death toll as of Thursday morning is 182. The spike potentially invalidates Gov. Ron DeSantis’ assertion that, while the recent uptick in new cases is troubling, the virus is affecting younger populations and is, therefore, a lesser health risk.

Hillsborough also added 35 new hospitalizations, bringing the total number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 to 761.

The county recorded 567 new cases Wednesday, fewer than other recent days, but its positivity rate soared to 19.7%, the second highest positivity rate ever recorded since the state began measuring that data point. That’s behind only June 23 when the rate was 20.5%. Health officials consider anything above 10% significant cause for concern.

Hillsborough has consistently been above that mark. Its two-week average is 17%.

The county now has confirmed 16,666 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Pinellas County’s numbers were slightly less troubling Wednesday, though still trending dangerously high. The county added 431 new cases and is approaching 10,000 total, with 9,826 now confirmed.

Pinellas added 12 deaths for a total of 221 and 11 new hospitalizations for a total of 833.

The positivity rate remains high at 16.1% Wednesday, up from 11% Tuesday. The seven-day average is now 12.6%.

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Editor’s note on methodology: The Florida Department of Health releases new data every morning around 10:45 a.m. The total number reported in those daily reports include the previous day’s totals as well as the most up to date data as of about 9:30 a.m.

Florida Politics uses the increases report-over-report to document the number of new cases each day because it represents the most up-to-date data available. Some of the more specific data, including positivity rates and demographics, considers a different data set that includes only cases reported the previous day.

This is important to note because the DOH report lists different daily totals than our methodology to show day-over-day trends. Their numbers do not include non-residents who tested positive in the state and they only include single-day data, therefore some data in the DOH report may appear lower than what we report.

Our methodology was established based on careful consideration among our editorial staff to capture both the most recent and accurate trends.

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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