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Pinellas COVID-19 positivity rate back below 10%, but cases continue to surge

Hillsborough’s positivity rate also dropped for the fourth straight day.

Pinellas County’s COVID-19 positivity rate dropped for the fourth day in a row Sunday with 7.7% of patients testing positive for the first time.

The downward trend puts Pinellas County’s seven-day average barely below the 10% threshold that triggers concern for community spread, now at 9.9%.

While it was the fourth day the county’s rate stayed below 10%, Sunday’s positivity rate was an increase over Saturday, which was just 5.6%.

Hillsborough County saw its positivity rate drop for the fourth day in a row, but its seven-day average remains above 10% at 15%.

Its rate Sunday was 12.2%, down from 12.4% Saturday, 12.9% Friday and 14.2% Thursday.

Still, new cases are surging with an influx of testing. Pinellas County tallied 598 new cases, a two-week high that brings the county’s total to 11,442. Hillsborough County added 678 new cases for a total of 19,828. Monday’s results will almost certainly push the county over 20,000.

Health outcomes saw a brief reprieve with only five additional residents requiring hospitalization for COVID-19 and no new deaths. The county has had 813 people hospitalized with the virus and 188 who have died.

But Hillsborough added 58 new cases stemming from longterm care facilities where residents are at higher-risk of severe complications from the virus, showing a continued spread in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. So far, 965 residents and staff at those facilities have tested positive for the virus.

Pinellas County continues to see more serious results of the pandemic than its neighbor to the east with 30 new hospitalizations (937 total) and seven new deaths (236 total.)

Pinellas tallied fewer new cases in longterm care facilities, just 35, but has a higher total at 1,389.

Pinellas County’s median age is still higher than Hillsborough at 40 compared to 35.

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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, 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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