South Florida shattered its previous death toll record Thursday with 109 new confirmed deaths.
That’s a 42% leap from the previous daily high of 77 deaths over a 24-hour span set one day earlier in Wednesday’s report.
Thursday’s report from the Department of Health covers data from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning. The death toll in Miami-Dade alone hit 60 in that span. Broward County saw 38 deaths, while Palm Beach County recorded 11 deaths.
The record high comes as the region is shutting down COVID-19 testing sites in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaias. The storm is projected to approach Florida this weekend.
The state will shut down all drive-thru and walk-up testing sites under its control beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday. Miami-Dade County will close testing sites under its control beginning Friday “until further notice.”
Testing has shown the percentage of positive cases dropping in recent weeks. While that may be a sign the virus is spreading more slowly, deaths and hospitalizations are lagging indicators, meaning they may continue to rise as people infected days or weeks ago begin feeling the virus’s worst effects.
Though the positivity rate is dropping, it still remains dangerously high. That rate has hovered around 10% in Palm Beach County over the previous seven days. Broward’s rate is around 13% during that same span, while Miami-Dade is still seeing more than 18% of tests come back positive.
Hospitalizations continue to be a concern in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. More than 90% of adult intensive care unit beds are occupied in Broward. More than 89% are filled in Miami-Dade. That number sits at 75% in Palm Beach County and 83% statewide.
The region also crossed 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Thursday, as the tri-county area added another 4,640 cases. In total, 202,924 people have been infected in the three counties alone. More deaths will follow, though it remains to be seen whether Thursday’s grim milestone was a peak or another point along a climbing count of lives lost to this virus.
Here are some of the weekly numbers for the previous three weeks throughout the South Florida tri-county area:
— July 9-July 15: 42 new hospitalizations per day, 22 deaths per day, 2,767 new confirmed cases per day, 19.7% positivity rate
— July 16-22: 53 new hospitalizations per day, 15 deaths per day, 2,796 new confirmed cases per day, 19.1% positivity rate
— July 23-29: 64 new hospitalizations per day, 23 deaths per day, 2,971 new confirmed cases per day, 18.2% positivity rate
— July 9-July 15: 35 new hospitalizations per day, 5 deaths per day, 1,490 new confirmed cases per day, 15% positivity rate
— July 16-22: 39 new hospitalizations per day, 10 deaths per day, 1,351 new confirmed cases per day, 14.3% positivity rate
— July 23-29: 45 new hospitalizations per day, 20 deaths per day, 1,339 new confirmed cases per day, 13.1% positivity rate
— July 9-July 15: 28 new hospitalizations per day, 9 deaths per day, 714 new confirmed cases per day, 11.8% positivity rate
— July 16-22: 29 new hospitalizations per day, 13 deaths per day, 648 new confirmed cases per day, 11% positivity rate
— July 23-29: 27 new hospitalizations per day, 11 deaths per day, 626 new confirmed cases per day, 9.9% 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.