While new COVID-19 cases continue to sharply decline in South Florida, deaths have not yet done the same.
The region’s tri-county area recorded another 80 deaths Wednesday, according to the new report from the Department of Health. That’s the seventh-highest death toll for the region since the outbreak began.
All seven of those daily death toll highs have been recorded in the last three weeks. Three of them have been recorded in the previous six days, showing the trend has not yet abated.
That’s because deaths are a lagging indicator, as it can take days or weeks after a positive test for an individual to fall severely ill or die.
Local officials have introduced increasingly strict social distancing measures dating back to June, which appear to be significantly cutting back on the virus’s spread. Miami-Dade County returned a 9.7% positivity rate Wednesday. That’s the first day since June 21 the county has seen fewer than 10% of COVID-19 tests come back positive.
The positivity rate is dropping in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties over the past few weeks. Broward and Palm Beach are now seeing a sustained positivity rate under 10%, which experts warn is key to having a chance at controlling the virus.
Still, hospitalizations are trending upward in Broward. The county had 86% of its adult intensive care unit beds filled as of Wednesday, which is still shy of the 90% mark the county had routinely hit at the worst stages of the recent resurgence.
It’s unclear whether that increase in hospitalizations will continue and whether such an increase would push hospitals to the brink once again.
Hospitalizations have trended downward in Miami-Dade, while the number has remained relatively steady over the past three weeks in Palm Beach. Here are some of the weekly numbers for the previous three weeks throughout the South Florida tri-county area:
— July 29-Aug. 4: 83 new hospitalizations per day, 46 deaths per day, 1,833 new confirmed cases per day, 15.7% positivity rate
— Aug. 5-11: 77 new hospitalizations per day, 23 deaths per day, 1,889 new confirmed cases per day, 14.3% positivity rate
— Aug. 12-18: 57 new hospitalizations per day, 32 deaths per day, 1,279 new confirmed cases per day, 11% positivity rate
— July 29-Aug. 4: 45 new hospitalizations per day, 21 deaths per day, 916 new confirmed cases per day, 11.4% positivity rate
— Aug. 5-11: 83 new hospitalizations per day, 11 deaths per day, 699 new confirmed cases per day, 9.2% positivity rate
— Aug. 12-18: 98 new hospitalizations per day, 27 deaths per day, 517 new confirmed cases per day, 7.7% positivity rate
— July 29-Aug. 4: 24 new hospitalizations per day, 12 deaths per day, 439 new confirmed cases per day, 9.5% positivity rate
— Aug. 5-11: 27 new hospitalizations per day, 10 deaths per day, 374 new confirmed cases per day, 7.5% positivity rate
— Aug. 12-18: 25 new hospitalizations per day, 10 deaths per day, 246 new confirmed cases per day, 6.4% 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.