South Florida COVID-19 death toll craters after surging for three straight days

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The weekly average remains high.

South Florida’s tri-county recorded its lowest death toll in nearly a month Thursday, just one day after the region saw its third-highest death toll of the entire pandemic.

The region recorded 19 new deaths in Thursday’s report from the Department of Health. That report covers data from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning.

The report also included a correction, as officials appear to have over-counted a death in Broward County. Thursday’s report saw the county record “-1” deaths. Miami-Dade added 9 new deaths, while Palm Beach County recorded 10 new deaths.

That combined death toll is the lowest since the region saw just nine new deaths back on July 12.

It’s unclear whether Thursday’s report is an anomaly or a sign the death toll will come down from its sky-high numbers in the past week-plus. The region’s six highest daily death totals have all been recorded in the past nine days.

Hospital space continues to be a concern. Miami-Dade County has nearly 92% of its adult intensive care unit (ICU) beds filled as of Thursday morning. In Broward, that number is more than 90%. Both numbers are higher than the state average of 82.5%.

Palm Beach County is faring better, with 77% of its adult ICU beds filled. Those numbers include all ICU patients, not just those diagnosed with COVID-19.

The number of reported tests also rose in Thursday’s report after days of depressed numbers. That drop was largely due to testing sites being closed through the weekend due to Hurricane Isaias.

Those testing numbers haven’t quite reached their pre-Isaias levels yet. Thursday’s report saw nearly 2,900 new cases with Miami-Dade adding 1,728, Broward adding 704 and Palm Beach recording 454 new confirmed cases.

The share of tests coming back positive remains comparatively low to its levels in weeks past. While Miami-Dade was routinely seeing more than 20% of tests come back positive, that number is now at 14.6% over the previous seven days.

That’s still high, as experts warn of sustained positivity rates above 10%. The number appears to still be declining, however, giving officials hope that strict social distancing measures are cutting down on the virus’s spread.

Broward and Palm Beach are seeing even better numbers when it comes to the positivity rate. Here are some of the weekly numbers for the previous three weeks throughout the South Florida tri-county area:


— July 16-22: 53 new hospitalizations per day, 15 deaths per day, 2,795 new confirmed cases per day, 19.1% positivity rate

— July 23-29: 64 new hospitalizations per day, 23 deaths per day, 2,966 new confirmed cases per day, 18.3% positivity rate

— July 30-Aug. 5: 88 new hospitalizations per day, 38 deaths per day, 1,685 new confirmed cases per day, 14.6% positivity rate


— July 16-22: 39 new hospitalizations per day, 10 deaths per day, 1,351 new confirmed cases per day, 14.4% positivity rate

— July 23-29: 45 new hospitalizations per day, 20 deaths per day, 1,334 new confirmed cases per day, 13.1% positivity rate

— July 30-Aug. 5: 52 new hospitalizations per day, 15 deaths per day, 833 new confirmed cases per day, 10.5% positivity rate

Palm Beach

— July 16-22: 29 new hospitalizations per day, 13 deaths per day, 649 new confirmed cases per day, 11% positivity rate

— July 23-29: 27 new hospitalizations per day, 11 deaths per day, 627 new confirmed cases per day, 10% positivity rate

— July 30-Aug. 5: 24 new hospitalizations per day, 12 deaths per day, 427 new confirmed cases per day, 9.1% 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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