Hillsborough County again spikes to more than 900 new COVID-19 cases

Covid Tampa 813
Meanwhile, kids are testing positive.

There’s not much good news coming out of Hillsborough County Friday as the most recent Florida Department of Health data shows an uptick in new cases and the positive testing rate.

The county added 945 new cases from Thursday to Friday morning, the highest single day increase since July 9. The county has now tallied 22,502 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The county also logged its highest single day positivity rate, 16.9% since last Wednesday, July 8, when the rate was 19.8%. The seven day average remains high at 14%.

An increase in positivity rates typically aligns with a decrease in testing, but that wasn’t the case Thursday. The county returned results for 4,621 tests, the most since last weekend.

Hillsborough also reported 24 additional hospitalizations for people with COVID-19, bringing its pandemic total to 916. The county now has less than 10% availability in adult ICU units with just 32 of 358 beds remaining. Five hospitals are at maximum adult ICU capacity.

There was one comparatively positive note. The county added just one new death, bringing its total to 233. While no death is a good thing, it’s at least a temporary reprieve from the 40 deaths reported Wednesday.

As the county grapples with how to send kids back to school safely next month, with conversations about possibly shifting the start date back two weeks, data shows kids are contracting the virus, though at lower rates than adults.

The county has logged 1,409 cases among children from birth to 14 years, 6% of all cases. Another 4,051 kids and young adults aged 15-24 have tested positive, 18% of all cases.

Neighboring Pinellas County is showing a similar trend with 580 cases among children 0-14, 4% of all cases, and 1,971 among kids and young adults 15-24, 16% of cases.

That data is significant as Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to urge full school reopening arguing children are less likely to contract or spread the virus, a claim for which there is empirical evidence, but no solid scientific proof.

Pinellas County’s virus trend continues to look better than Hillsborough’s in terms of overall virus spread. The county added just 346 new cases Thursday to Friday morning and has a total off 12,714 cases logged to date.

Even better, the county’s positivity rate for tests returned has been less than 10% for seven of the past eight days. Its seven-day average is just 8.35% and its two week average is only slightly above the 10% threshold for which health officials worry about rampant community spread.

The county added five new deaths, bringing the total to 300, a 2% mortality rate that is double the state average.

Pinellas also added 22 new hospitalizations for a pandemic-wide total of 1,063.

Pinellas currently has just 41 of 251 adult ICU beds available, or 14%, according to Agency for Health Care Administration data.

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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

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 [email protected]



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