South Florida sees record 77 deaths as region nears 200K COVID-19 cases

Infected patient in quarantine lying in bed in hospital, coronavirus concept.
By comparison, Sunday's report saw 78 deaths across the entire state of Florida.

The novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of 77 more people across South Florida’s tri-county area, a new daily record.

The Florida Department of Health report covers data from Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning.

By comparison, Sunday’s report saw 78 deaths across the entire state of Florida.

Signs of potential trouble were present in prior reports. Saturday’s and Sunday’s numbers showed nearly 60 died in Broward County alone. By Monday and Tuesday, those numbers had dropped in Broward, but remained high in neighboring Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Tuesday’s report saw 21 dead each in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, but zero deaths in Broward.

On Wednesday, all three counties showed grim numbers. In Broward, 31 lives were lost. Another 30 died in Miami-Dade. Palm Beach recorded 16 deaths.

The region has posted positive trends when it comes to the rate of the virus’s spread. Deaths and hospitalizations — which are lagging indicators — have continued to rise.

As of Wednesday, more than 91% of adult intensive care unit beds remain occupied in Broward County hospitals. That number sits at 89% in Miami-Dade and nearly 76% in Palm Beach.

Wednesday’s death toll drives home an important point. Once the virus spreads as it has in the last month-plus, deaths do not tick up immediately. That can lead to a false sense of security among the population at large. Officials had also clung to the hope that because the virus was spreading among younger Floridians, perhaps deaths would not tick up as they have.

Once the virus gets out of control, though, even measures that help reduce its spread will not be enough to spare the lives of those who contract the disease at its peak spread. Mask mandates, curfews and other regulations can slow the spread — and they have. Those measure cannot, however, stop those already infected from succumbing to the virus weeks later.

At least 20 people have died across South Florida’s tri-county area for 16 straight days now. It’s unclear when that trend will be broken.

The share of tests coming back positive has dropped in all three counties over the previous three weeks. That trend is positive, though those numbers still remain dangerously high.

Experts warn a sustained positivity rate above 10% is problematic. Palm Beach is in the best shape of the three counties with a 10.2% positivity rate in tests conducted over the previous seven days. In Broward, that number is at 13.1%. In Miami-Dade, it remains at 18.4%.

While those numbers are down from recent highs, they are not yet low.

The region added another 4,677 confirmed cases in Wednesday’s report. That means the state has now confirmed 198,284 cases in the region. The county will surpass 200,000 cases by Thursday.

Here are some of the weekly numbers for the previous three weeks throughout the South Florida tri-county area:


— July 8-14: 45 new hospitalizations per day, 19 deaths per day, 2,613 new confirmed cases per day, 20.4% positivity rate

— July 15-21: 50 new hospitalizations per day, 20 deaths per day, 2,848 new confirmed cases per day, 19% positivity rate

— July 22-28: 65 new hospitalizations per day, 16 deaths per day, 2,965 new confirmed cases per day, 18.3% positivity rate


— July 8-14: 37 new hospitalizations per day, 6 deaths per day, 1,476 new confirmed cases per day, 15.4% positivity rate

— July 15-21: 38 new hospitalizations per day, 9 deaths per day, 1,374 new confirmed cases per day, 14.6% positivity rate

— July 22-28: 43 new hospitalizations per day, 16 deaths per day, 1,325 new confirmed cases per day, 13.1% positivity rate

Palm Beach

— July 8-14: 25 new hospitalizations per day, 9 deaths per day, 644 new confirmed cases per day, 12.1% positivity rate

— July 15-21: 31 new hospitalizations per day, 11 deaths per day, 670 new confirmed cases per day, 11% positivity rate

— July 22-28: 26 new hospitalizations per day, 12 deaths per day, 660 new confirmed cases per day, 10.1% positivity rate


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.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


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