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COVID-19 death toll continues to pummel Central Florida

Hospital admissions also continue to rise.

Central Florida confirmed another 46 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, including 24 in Orange County, as the region continues to suffer the fatal wave crashing in from the surge in cases experienced earlier in the month.

The 24 deaths reported Wednesday in the Florida Department of Health’s latest COVID-19 update marked a new worst for Orange.

Brevard County, which saw an unprecedented 20 fatalities reported the day before, confirmed 10 more deaths. Another six new COVID-19 deaths were reported in Osceola County, four in Volusia County, and one each in Lake and Seminole Counties.

Overall, the 46 deaths across the six-county greater-Orlando region topped the previous worst day, last Thursday, when 35 COVID-19 fatalities were recorded in Central Florida. The COVID-19 victims ranged in age from a 32-year-old Orange County man to a 97-year-old Orange County man.

Statewide, in the last 24 hours, the Department of Health confirmed 217 deaths tied to the virus, including one non-resident who died in the state. Wednesday marks the third record-setting day in a week’s time after Tuesday morning’s report included 186 dead residents and five dead non-residents.

The Central Florida virus death toll is mounting even as the front-end of the coronavirus crisis continues to offer hope for the Central Florida region.

The numbers of new cases continue to trend downward, as they have for more than a week, in most Central Florida counties. And the percentage of people being tested for the virus who test positive also continues a downward trend that began more than a week ago.

But experiences nationally and locally have shown the numbers of people dying with COVID-19 tend to lag about 10-12 days behind hospitalizations, which tend to lag about 10-12 days behind new cases. So the worst may yet lie ahead.

COVID-19 deaths across Central Florida have been surging for a little more than a week and now are averaging about 25 per day for the past week, more than double the rolling seven-day average the region was experiencing through July 18.

Also continuing to rise: the numbers of Central Floridians being admitted to hospitals for COVID-19. Seventy-four more people were hospitalized across the region on Tuesday, including 26 in Orange County. That number began rising around July 2. On Monday a record 95 people were hospitalized.

The numbers of new cases in Central Florida began rising around June 22, and appeared to peak around July 17. Since then, the new case counts have trended steadily downward. On Wednesday, 895 new cases were reported across the region, including 371 in Orange and 157 in Osceola.

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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

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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