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Hillsborough County improves Friday in almost all COVID-19 metrics

Pinellas County also saw a rebound from data Thursday.

It’s almost all good news Friday on the COVID-19 front in Hillsborough County. New cases, hospitalizations and deaths area all down, as is the county’s testing positivity rate.

The county added 374 new cases in the Florida Department of Health’s Friday update covering new cases from Thursday morning to Friday morning, down from 474 new cases in Thursday’s report and 445 the day prior.

Hillsborough County confirmed four deaths Friday, down from eight Thursday and its mortality rate among 335 total deaths, while still tragic, is at just 1.2%, lower than the state rate and significantly lower than the national rate.

New hospitalizations were also down Friday to just four from 34 reported the day prior. The slowdown corresponded with an uptick in adult intensive care unit capacity in the county, though beds are still running low. Just 29, 7.55%, of the county’s 355 adult ICU beds remain available. While that’s down from 8.8% the day prior, it’s still better than the 6.5% availability the Agency for Health Care Administration reported Wednesday.

The positivity rate also continues to trend below 10%. Thursday’s 9.8% was one of five days the rate has been below that threshold in the past week and the seven day average is now almost back below the troublesome rate, at just. 10.01%.

The only area Hillsborough didn’t improve Friday was in new cases among children and young adults, a metric Florida Politics has began measuring as families across the state prepare to return children to classrooms in August.

New cases among those ages 0-24 ticked up a half point Thursday to 22%, 82 cases, from 21.5% Wednesday.

There were 26 cases among exclusively school aged children, those between five and 14.

Pinellas County has been trending better than Hillsborough and the state for well over two weeks now and continues to return mostly optimistic data.

The county confirmed 242 new cases in Friday’s report, down from 314 in Thursday’s report.

Pinellas County’s mortality rate remains much higher than the state and Hillsborough at 2.7%. The county confirmed 14 new deaths Thursday, down from 18 Wednesday.

And while 31 additional patients required hospitalization Thursday, adult ICU capacity remains low, but adequate at 14% with 42 of the county’s 253 beds available.

The positivity rate dropped to 7.7% Thursday from 8.3% Wednesday and the positivity rate remains well below 10%, though the current rates are higher than last Friday and into the weekend when they were between 5% and 6%.

Cases among children were down in Friday’s report with just 44 cases among children and young adults ages 5-24. No children under 4 were confirmed positive in Friday’s report.

Pinellas County now has a total of 16,356 cases since the pandemic started, well below Hillsborough County’s 29,116 total cases.

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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 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 Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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