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Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers.

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Case loads blast upward in Southwest Florida where 50 died with COVID-19 in a week’s time

Lee County alone now has more than 10,000 cases.

Southwest Florida saw a spike of nearly 3,500 cases in the past 48 hours. 

The bulk of that came with Saturday’s record surge in cases statewide. That carried Lee County above the 10,000 case threshold, making it the eighth to reach five-digits. 

Other thresholds were also passed in the region, as Collier County surpassed 6,000 cases, Manatee County surpassed 5,000 and Sarasota sailed past 3,000. 

The mortality rate in the 10-county area remains higher than the state as a whole, around 2.21% in Southwest Florida compared to 1.61% for all of Florida. The region tallied 50 deaths in the last week. 

Lee County remains the leader in cases and deaths in the region, with 191 patients to date dying with COVID-19. That includes the very first Florida death, a woman who died at Gulf Coast Medical Center and tested positive posthumously. 

But the greatest area of concern in the region may actually be in the less populated rural counties where infection rates are among the highest in the state. 

Number of cases per 100,000 residents exceeds 2,000 in three counties — Hendry, DeSoto and Hardee. 

In Hendry, fueled by an outbreak among farm workers in Immokaleenearly 3% of the total population has now tested positive for COVID-19. 

Regionally, the 10-county area serves as home to almost 30,000 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic officially reached Florida. That dates back to the first Florida patient, a Manatee County case treated at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.   

Census estimates say that as of July 1, the region’s population reached just over 2.4 million. Cases per 100,000 residents sit as 1,243 as of Monday morning. 

By comparison, Miami-Dade County’s population exceeds 2.7 million and the 67,713 cases there represent an infection rate of 2,492. That’s lower than Hendry but a greater infection rate than any other Southwest Florida county. 

Southwest Florida COVID-19 cases 7-13-20.

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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