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Nearly six months after health officials first identified COVID-19 in Florida, the state crossed 10,000 fatalities tied to the disease.
The Department of Health reported 117 new deaths Thursday, raising the state’s death toll to 10,049. Another two non-Floridians died, raising the tally of non-resident deaths in the state to 137.
While people 85 and older make up 14,765 of the state’s 582,407 cases among residents, nearly a third of the state’s deaths were Floridians in that age group. The case fatality rate is highest among that group, 22% as of Thursday.
The disease disproportionately affects older individuals and those with underlying illnesses like heart conditions, but youth are not immune. The youngest person to die in the state was a 9-year-old girl from Putnam County.
Florida ranks behind New York, New Jersey, California and Texas in total fatalities, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only California and Texas have more residents than Florida.
Daily deaths appear to have plateaued, with officials confirming an average 162 dead residents over the past seven days. That’s down from a seven-day average of 181 on Sunday and 185 earlier in the month.
But deaths are also a lagging indicator of the pandemic. Deaths can occur weeks after someone tests positive, and people testing positive were likely infected a week or more prior.
Of those newly-confirmed deaths, four occurred outside the last 30 days and beyond the scope of the report’s timeline. Of those visible new fatalities, 27 occurred on Tuesday.
Florida may finally be passed the peak of deaths confirmed per day, but the Sunshine State has seen favorable trends since early July.
Since Wednesday’s report, officials confirmed 4,555 new COVID-19 cases. That’s down from a single-report peak of 15,300 in mid-July.
The new cases cover residents and non-residents confirmed positive Wednesday morning to Thursday morning. For all-day Wednesday, the state diagnosed 4,605 positive residents, with a median age of 43.
Overall, 588,602 people have tested positive for the virus in the state, including 6,195 non-residents.
The testing positivity rate fell to 6.8% Wednesday, the lowest mark since mid-June and the ninth consecutive day below the state’s self-imposed 10% target.
Emergency department visits, Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ preferred metric for tracking the pandemic, declined last week. The week of July 5 saw 6,255 emergency department visits with flu-like illnesses and 15,999 for illnesses like COVID-19. For the week of Aug. 9, those visits dropped to 2,187 and 4,835 respectively.
“Those are all good trends,” DeSantis told reporters Wednesday about declining visits and positivity rates. “Those are all positive signs.”
And while 450 more residents were confirmed in hospitals, the statewide hospital census has been declining.
Overall, 35,650 people have been hospitalized. But the Agency for Health Care Administration reports 5,340 people are currently hospitalized with the disease, up 15 from 24 hours earlier. The increase, though marginal, breaks recent trends.
Together with the depressed positivity rate, officials received 77,172 test results. Through Thursday morning, 4.3 million Floridians have been tested, as have 19,000 non-residents in the state.
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 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.