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A mother and son do laundry on Saturday in a farmworker housing area across from the Seminole Casino in Immokalee. The mother and son are among many that share the small trailer style houses. Some farms in Southwest Florida have shut down because of COVID-19, while several remain in operation to meet the country’s need for produce. (Kinfay Moroti/hopeful images)

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Collier now 10th Florida county with more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19

The county crossed that threshold the same day Florida crossed 500K cases.

Collier County on Wednesday became the 10th county in the state to surpass 10,000 known cases of COVID-19.

The county passed the milestone the same day the total number of Florida cases passed 500,000.

The Florida Department of Health reported an additional 153 positive COVID-19 tests Wednesday in Collier. After seeing five additional deaths reported on Tuesday compared to Monday, the county did not report any new fatalities on Wednesday. But the five-digit caseload puts the county in notorious company, which includes neighboring counties.

Most notably, Miami-Dade County remains the community with the most infections statewide by far, representing 125,949 total positive tests. Also to the east, Broward County has reported 59,354 infections. To the north, Lee County reports 15,961 total cases, half again the Collier County number. And while rural Hendry County has reported a mere 1,694 positive tests, that means more than 4% of residents in that community of about 42,000 have now been infected with the coronavirus.

Looking specifically at Collier, a thin silver lining may be the community hasn’t ravaged older populations the same as other Southwest Florida communities. While 174 residents and staff for long-term care facilities have died after testing positive for COVID-19, just 55 such individuals were felled by the disease in Collier.

Those 55 represent less than half of Collier’s 129 COVID-19-related deaths.

The disease has hit Hispanic communities in Collier especially hard. A total of 4,022 Hispanic residents tested positive, compared to 2,379 who self-identified as non-Hispanic; the Health Department does not have ethnicity data on the remaining 3,502 cases.

That points to the problem still largely existing within the farmworker community. Officials more than a month ago reported an outbreak in Immokalee, impacting Collier and Hendry.

The median age of coronavirus-positive individuals in the county is 39, lower than the state as a whole. The mortality rate for the county is also lower, about 1.28% of known cases compared to 1.54% statewide and 1.95% in the 10-county Southwest Florida region.

Some 1 in 38 Collier County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, while just over 1 in 50 Southwest Florida residents have tested positive.

Southwest Florida COVID-19 totals as of 8-5-20 morning report.

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. 

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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