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COVID-19 takes heavy toll on Central Florida in July

After reopenings in May and June, Central Florida suffered in July.

With one day left to report for July, the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths already have more than tripled across the six-county Central Florida region during the month.

The progression of daily state reports on new cases, new hospital admissions, and new COVID-19-related deaths confirm the heavy toll being paid from the resurgence of infections that began in mid-June. That began after state and local officials reopened much of the economy with the hope that the plague had been largely defeated.

Across Central Florida, in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Volusia, Brevard, and Lake counties, 646 deaths now have been attributed to COVID-19. Of those 452 — 70% — were reported in July to have died. That includes 30 newly-reported fatalities that showed up in Friday’s COVID-19 update from the Florida Department of Health.

The six-county region now has 60,738 confirmed COVID-19 cases since early March. Of those, 40,632 — 67% — were confirmed in July. That includes 999 newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Friday’s report.

The region’s reports of newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients did not set such a foreboding pace in July. One reason may be because administrators have said in recent press briefings that their hospitals have been more selective this summer in deciding when to admit a person with the virus, compared with what was happening in the first few months of the outbreak. Instead, more patients lately have been encouraged to stay home, unless symptoms become severe. Nonetheless, of 2,699 people who have been hospitalized in Central Florida since the outbreak began in March, 1,461 people — more than half — were admitted in July.

Orange County now has seen 29,011 confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the outbreak, with 18,697 of those appearing in July. In Orange, 830 people have been hospitalized, with 384 being admitted in July; and 216 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, with 158 of those being reported in July.

In Osceola County, 8,470 cases have been recorded, with 6,444 of those appearing in July. In Osceola, 347 people have been admitted to hospitals, with 160 being admitted in July. And 71 people have been reported to have died from COVID-19, with 47 of those fatalities reported in July.

In Volusia County, 6,834 COVID-19 cases have been reported, including 4,729 in July. In Volusia, 514 people have been admitted to hospitals with the virus, and 301 of them were reported in July. The county’s death toll now is 112, with 55 of those deaths reported in July.

In Seminole County, 6,487 cases have been logged, including 3,921 in July. In Seminole, 397 people have been hospitalized, including 233 in July. Seminole has suffered 82 deaths, with 66 of them being recorded in July.

Brevard County now has confirmed 5,420 cases, including 3,627 in July. Of the 391 people who’ve been admitted to hospitals since the start of the outbreak, 281 were reported hospitalized in July. Of the 114 deaths reported in Brevard, 97 were reported in July.

In Lake County, 4,516 cases have been logged, and 3,214 of those were in July. Of 220 people admitted to hospitals, 112 were admitted in July. Of 51 Lake County COVID-19-related deaths, 29 were reported in July.

Statewide, health officials reported 257 fatalities tied to COVID-19 Friday, marking the fourth consecutive record-breaking daily report for the death toll in the state.

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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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