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First Coast counties decrease COVID-19 positive test rates

Northeast Florida still added 790 new cases of coronavirus Saturday.

While the rate of positive test results is beginning to slow, the five-county First Coast region added 790 new cases of coronavirus in one day, according to data released Sunday by the Florida Department of Health.

Jacksonville — with the highest population in the area — led the way again with 577 new cases of COVID-19 by the end of Saturday, bringing the total cases to 12,964. Jacksonville also recorded five further deaths attributed to the illness, which now stands at 81.

Meanwhile, for the first time in several weeks, Jacksonville’s positivity rate for all tests administered dropped below 10%. Some 9.4% of the 5,511 people taking the exam returned with positive results, according to Saturday’s figures. That’s also more than half the record positivity rate that Jacksonville set just four days ago on Thursday when 21.1% of all tests administered in Duval County returned positive.

St. Johns County also showed some slowing of positive test results. St. Johns had 55 new cases of coronavirus Saturday, now totaling 1,843. But St. Johns recorded a 6.6% positive test result rate, also the lowest for that county in weeks. That figure is also more than half the record high positivity rate set Thursday in St. Johns County, which was 15.2%.

Clay County saw 105 new cases of COVID-10, for 1,508 total. Clay was another Northeast Florida county witnessing a downturn in the positivity test rate — 6.3% on Saturday, the lowest figure in weeks, and about one-third of the county’s record high positivity test result figure of 20% set Thursday.

Other Northeast Florida counties saw modest changes: Nassau County added 42 cases, and Baker County showing 11 new cases.

Across the First Coast, there are now 16,901 total cases, with 135 fatalities, and 701 hospitalizations attributed to the illness.

Florida now has 269,811 total cases of coronavirus, 4,242 fatalities, and 18,271 hospitalizations.

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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 report-over-report increase 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, consider 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 nonresidents 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.

Written By

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.

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