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Pinellas County continues struggle with worse COVID-19 health outcomes than neighboring Hillsborough

Pinellas County’s rate of deaths and hospitalizations are double Hillsborough’s.

Pinellas County had another tragic day Tuesday, with 16 new deaths related to COVID-19 confirmed.

That follows 26 deaths confirmed Monday and brings the one-week death toll to 69. The county’s mortality rate remains at 2%, the same rate as the state’s average.

The continued number of deaths continues to outpace neighboring Hillsborough County where only three deaths were confirmed Tuesday, and just 29 new deaths over the past week. Hillsborough’s mortality rate remains at just 1%.

Those mortality rates are based on resident deaths only.

Pinellas County also continues to outpace Hillsborough in hospitalizations, which foreshadow deaths as only those with severe symptoms tend to seek hospitalization.

Pinellas County has so far hospitalized 999 COVID-19 patients, including 28 Tuesday, compared to Hillsborough with 839, including 11 Tuesday. Of Pinellas County’s 11,992 residents who have tested positive for the virus, 8% have been hospitalized. Only 4% of Hillsborough County’s 20,909 residents who have tested positive have required hospitalization. The state average is 6%.

Despite Pinellas County’s grim health outcomes compared to its neighbor to the east and to the state as a whole, there is some good news.

The county again showed fewer than 10% of all tests returned Tuesday back below the 10% threshold health officials deem a risk for broad community spread. Tuesday’s share of positive tests was just 8.9% Tuesday, down from 10.2% Monday. The county’s positivity rate has been below 10% five of the past six days and its seven-day rolling average is 9.3%.

Pinellas County has now confirmed 12,080 total cases among both residents and visitors who tested positive while in the county, that includes 326 new cases confirmed from Tuesday to Wednesday morning, according to Florida Department of Health data.

Meanwhile, Hillsborough County continues to log higher overall daily case loads, with 510 new cases Tuesday to Wednesday, for a total o 21,018 resident and visitor cases.

It’s positivity rate remains in dangerous territory, at 13.3% Tuesday, down rom 16.3% Monday and at 14.45% over the past seven days.

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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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