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State health officials reported 3,220 new COVID-19 cases and confirmed 157 deaths tied to the virus in the state’s pandemic report Wednesday.
With the latest update from the Department of Health (DOH), 608,722 people, including 602,113 Florida residents, have tested positive. Overall, 10,733 Floridians and 139 non-residents have died in the state.
Since Tuesday’s report, which included 184 new fatalities, DOH confirmed the deaths of 155 Floridians and two non-Floridians. But the death toll among residents grew by 153 after the department revised two deaths previously reported.
After peaking earlier this month, the increasing death toll is slowing down. In the last seven days, the department has confirmed 115 deaths per day, down from 185 in the seven days leading up to Aug. 5.
However, deaths are a lagging indicator of the pandemic. While deaths peaked this month, Florida has seen signs of improvement since July.
The 3,220 new cases cover residents and non-residents confirmed positive Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning, down from the peak of 15,300 diagnoses reported in one mid-July update. For all-day Tuesday, the state diagnosed 3,327 positive residents, who had a median age of 43.
Florida’s testing positivity rate spiked slightly Monday from 5.2% to 7.5%. But the rate dropped again to 5.8% Tuesday, decreasing the seven-day daily average from 6.3% to 6.1%.
Ten percent is the state’s self-imposed target threshold, but some medical experts and the World Health Organization have pointed to 5% as when services like schools could start reopening.
Florida’s positivity rate dropped below 3% in May but rebounded during the pandemic’s Sunbelt surge.
Even though the positivity rate shows favorable signs, Gov. Ron DeSantis has stopped emphasizing the rate and is instead pointing to emergency department metrics. Emergency department visits and the statewide hospital census, DeSantis says, offer realtime data and aren’t contingent on reporting from private testing labs.
The week of July 5 saw 6,255 emergency department visits with flu-like illnesses and 15,999 for illnesses like COVID-19. Last week, those visits dropped to 2,001 and 4,097 respectively.
Overall, 37,404 Floridians have been hospitalized, an increase of 366 since Tuesday’s report. But the Agency for Health Care Administration reports that 4,401 people are currently hospitalized with the disease, down 142 from 24 hours earlier.
As schools reopen, DOH is tracking cases in the state’s youth. As of Tuesday, 48,928 Floridians 17 or younger have tested positive, 611 have been hospitalized and eight have died. The youngest person to die in Florida was a 6-year-old Hillsborough County girl whose death the state reported on Friday.
DOH has received results from 4.5 million Floridians and 19,000 non-residents tested for the virus. Among those tested were 65,295 individuals tested Tuesday.
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.