COVID-19 cases in Pinellas exceed 20,000 with 663 deaths
Skyline of St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida
Pinellas added 97 cases and five deaths on Tuesday.

COVID-19 cases in Pinellas County climbed to 20,026 on Tuesday with the Florida Department of Health adding 97 more. In addition, five more residents have died due to the novel coronavirus, upping the death toll to 663.

Since Aug. 31, 138 cases and 13 deaths have been reported.

From Aug. 24-30, 457 cases and 59 deaths were reported. It was the sixth consecutive week DOH reported fewer cases compared to the week before. Eight more deaths occurred; however, Aug. 30 was the first date that no deaths were reported in the county since Aug. 10.

Statewide, the cumulative number of cases increased to 631,040 (7,589 new) with 11,374 deaths. Cases in the United States totaled 6,045,064 with 183,733 deaths. Globally, more than 25.55 million cases have been reported with 851,781 deaths.

State ends relationship with testing lab

According to a bulletin from the governor’s office, the unexpected increase of 7,589 new cases was due to Quest Diagnostic’s failure to report almost 75,000 test results dating back to April. The governor’s office says the true number of new cases for Aug. 31 should be 3,773 with a positivity rate of 5.9%.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has directed the Florida Department of Health and Florida Division of Emergency Management to severe all ties with Quest because it failed to follow the state’s law and report results of COVID-19 tests in a timely manner.

Quest says it did report results to the individuals, so the failure to report them to the state is a data issue, not one that impacted the health of individuals or the spread of COVID-19, the bulletin said.

Still, DeSantis said the data dump was irresponsible.

“To drop this much unusable and stale data is irresponsible,” he said. “I believe Quest has abdicated their ability to perform a testing function in Florida that the people can be confident in. As such, I am directing all executive agencies to sever their COVID-19 testing relationships with Quest immediately.”

Quest Diagnostics is a large, nationwide lab that provides testing at private sites, as well as performing limited testing through the state.

The state says it had incorporated information that would be useful and included the rest in the interest of transparency.

COVID-19 cases in Pinellas

COVID-19 cases in Pinellas include 19,878 residents and 148 nonresidents. More cases were in females, 10,731 (54%), to 9,145 in males. Gender was unknown in two. Ages range from 0-105. The median age was 43. Eighteen percent were Black, and 11% were Hispanics.

About 10% of all cases in the county have been hospitalized since March. DOH reported that 2,052 residents and 25 nonresidents had been hospitalized in Pinellas.

Local hospitals had 30% % capacity in staffed adult beds (912 of 3,051) on Tuesday with 24% capacity (77 of 326) in ICU beds. All 11 hospitals reported at least one ICU bed. According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, as of 10:30 a.m. Sept. 1, 139 beds were occupied by a COVID-19 patient with 38 in ICU and 24 on a ventilator.

Case count trending downward

From Aug. 17-23, 669 cases were reported and 51 deaths. It was the fifth consecutive week that fewer cases were reported than the week before; however, three more deaths occurred than last week.

From Aug. 10-16, 815 COVID-19 cases and 48 deaths were reported. It was the fourth consecutive week that the case count decreased and the first time since June 8-14 that less than 1,000 cases had been reported in one week. In addition, it was the second week that fewer deaths were reported compared to the week before.

From Aug. 3-9, 1,069 new cases were reported and 61 deaths. It was the third consecutive week that the case count decreased and the lowest weekly case count since June 15-21.

From July 27-Aug. 2, 1,627 new cases and 66 deaths were reported. It was the second consecutive week that the number of daily cases reported had gone down. From July 20-26, 1,675 new cases were reported and 59 deaths, which had been the lowest weekly case count since June 22-28.

Testing in Pinellas

According to testing information on the county-specific report, 2.56% of 4,067 test results reported on Aug. 31 were positive; however, if you exclude the historical data from the data dump, the positivity rate would have been 2.67%.

DOH had previously reported that 3.17% of 1,285 test results reported on Aug. 30 were positive, 3.53% of 2,294 results on Aug. 29, 2.03% of 3,813 on Aug. 28, 2.79% of 2,922 on Aug. 27, 4.44% of 1,985 on Aug. 26, 2.67% of 3,246 on Aug. 25 and 3.95% of 1,339 on Aug. 24 were positive.

DOH reported that 195,828 tests had been done in Pinellas since March, and as of Aug. 31, the average rate of positive results was 10.15%, 10.19% on Aug. 30, 10.2% on Aug. 29, 10.21% on Aug. 28, 10.23% on Aug. 27, 10.25% on Aug. 25 and 10.27% on Aug. 24.

Results were pending for eight and 137 tests were inconclusive.

The percent is the number of people who test positive the first time divided by all people tested that day, excluding people who have previously tested positive.

As of Aug. 25, 1,321 or 11.8% of 11,184 tests of those younger than 18 in Pinellas were positive. Statewide, 48,928, or 15% of 326,368 tests were positive. No new reports have been released since Aug. 26.

For information on testing, contact your health provider, or call the state DOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-866-779-6121 or the Pinellas County DOH’s hotline at 727-824-6900. Both numbers are available 24/7. For online information, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/testing/.

Case counts surged as Florida initiated its recovery plan

DOH reported 95 new cases and 19 deaths from May 4-10, which was the first week of phase one of the state’s recovery plan. Pinellas had 159 new cases and seven deaths from May 11-17, 151 new cases and eight deaths from May 18-24, and 124 new cases and seven deaths from May 25-31.

DOH reported 286 new cases and 13 deaths during the week, June 1-7, including 81 on June 5, the day the state moved into phase two of its recovery plans.

From June 8-14, 659 new cases and seven deaths were reported. DOH reported 162 new cases on June 13, which at the time had been the one-day high.

From June 15-21, 1,332 new cases and 13 deaths were reported in Pinellas. June 20 was the third consecutive day of record case counts that week with 285. June 19 was a record day with 266 cases, as was June 18 with 203 new cases.

For the week of June 22-28, 2,353 new cases and 40 deaths were reported. Three record-high days occurred with 614 new cases on June 27, 430 on June 26 and 354 on June 23.

Pinellas County enacted a mandatory face mask order for indoor places on June 24 and the state closed bars not licensed to sell food on June 26. The goal was to help control the community spread of the virus.

From June 29-July 5, DOH reported 2,513 new cases and 43 deaths, and 2,353 new cases. From July 6-12, 2,312 cases were reported and 33 deaths. From July 13-19, 2,638 cases were reported and 85 deaths — the most new cases and deaths in any seven-day period so far. Pinellas set a new second-highest one-day case count on July 13, adding 598. July 9 with 431 new cases and July 10 with 467 had been the previous second-highest one-day count records.

The county’s first two cases were reported on March 11, and the first death was confirmed on March 23.

Cases in Pinellas County schools

Pinellas County School District reported on Aug. 31 that eight employees and three students had tested positive for COVID-19. Eight classrooms were quarantined.

One employee was from Pinellas Park High School, three from Walter Pownall Service Center, one from Bardmoor High School, two from Clearwater Intermediate School and one from Ozona Middle School. Four classrooms were quarantined at Clearwater Intermediate School.

The students were from Boca Ciega High School, Largo High School and Pinellas Park Elementary. Three classrooms were quarantined at Boca Ciega High School and one at Pinellas Park Elementary School.

The district reported on Aug. 27 that one student at Bear Creek Elementary School in St. Petersburg had tested positive for COVID-19. One classroom was quarantined by DOH. In addition, one employee at Walter Pownall Service Center and one employee at Fuguitt Elementary School tested positive.

The district reported on Aug. 26 that one employee at Osceola Middle School had tested positive for COVID-19. Six classrooms were quarantined by DOH. Another employee tested positive at Walter Pownall Service Center in Largo, but no quarantine was ordered.

On Aug. 25, the district reported three students had tested positive. One at Clearwater High School was never on campus, so no quarantine order was issued. One student tested positive at Carwise Middle School, and seven classrooms have been quarantined by DOH. One student tested positive at Pinellas Academy of Math and Science Charter in Clearwater, and four classrooms were quarantined.

Pinellas County schools opened Aug. 24. The district reported that three employees and three students had tested positive for COVID-19. One student at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg and one student at Pinellas Park Elementary School had been ordered to quarantine by DOH. One staff member from Carwise Middle School in Palm Harbor, one student from Shore Acres Elementary School in St. Petersburg and two staff members from Walter Pownall Service Center had self-isolated prior to the start of school.

Case counts in local municipalities

DOH provided updated and revised information on the city of residence for cases in Pinellas on Tuesday. St. Petersburg has the most with 8,110 cases, 3,967 are Clearwater residents, 2,102 from Largo, 1,117 from Palm Harbor, 1,022 from Pinellas Park, 941 from Seminole, 604 from Tarpon Springs, 494 from Dunedin, 352 from Oldsmar, 271 from Safety Harbor, 145 from Clearwater Beach, 136 from Gulfport, 120 from Kenneth City, 100 from South Pasadena, 63 from Indian Rocks Beach, 33 from Belleair, 32 from Madeira Beach, 25 from Belleair Beach, 20 from Crystal Beach, 17 from Tierra Verde, 15 from St. Pete Beach, 14 from Bay Pines, 12 from North Redington Beach, 10 from Treasure Island, three from Belleair Bluffs, Indian Shores, Redington Shores and Ozona, two from Lealman and Redington Beach, two listed as homeless and 136 as missing.

Case numbers at long-term care facilities

Since March, 3,399 cases have been reported at long-term care facilities, or 17% of cases in the county.

At least one case has been reported at 103 of the county’s long-term care facilities as of Aug. 29 with 904 cases in residents and 403 in staff at the facilities. The numbers do not reflect current infections.

According to DOH, 97 cases were reported by Countryside Rehab and Healthcare Center in Palm Harbor, 90 cases by Lexington Health and Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg, 72 by Jacaranda Manor in St. Petersburg, 66 by Carrington Place of St. Pete, 64 by Boca Ciega Center in Gulfport, 61 by Freedom Square Seminole Nursing Pavilion, 48 by The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay, 45 by Oak Manor Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, 42 by Bay Pointe Nursing Pavilion in St. Petersburg, 41 by Gateway Care Center in Pinellas Park, 40 by Gulfport Rehabilitation Center, 34 by Gulf Shore Care Center, 31 by Lakeside Oaks Care Center in Dunedin, 31 by Kensington Gardens Rehab and Nursing Center in Clearwater, 29 by Peninsula Care and Rehabilitation Center at Tarpon Springs, 24 by Apollo Health and Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg, 23 by Eagle Lake Nursing and Rehab Care Center in St. Petersburg, 22 by Angel Care Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg and 20 by Regal Palms in Largo. The rest had fewer than 20.

COVID-19 deaths at long-term care facilities

At least 462 of the county’s deaths were residents or staff at one of the county’s long-term care facilities. Pinellas is No. 3 in the state with reporting 10% of deaths at these facilities. Dade County is No. 1 with 714 deaths, or 15%, and Palm Beach County is No. 2 with 485 deaths, or 10%.

According to a weekly report from DOH as of Aug. 29, 28 deaths were reported by Freedom Square Seminole Nursing Pavilion, including one staff member; 25 by Bon Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center; 25 by Jacaranda Manor, including two under investigation; 23 by Countryside Rehab and Healthcare; 23 by Gulf Shore Care Center; 18 by Peninsula Care and Rehabilitation Center, including two under investigation; 17 by Apollo Health and Rehabilitation Center; 15 by Oak Manor Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, including one staff member; 12 by Boca Ciega Center; and 11 deaths by St. Mark Village.

Nine deaths were reported by Walton Place, Lexington Health and Rehabilitation Center, Inn at the Fountains in St. Petersburg, The Oaks of Clearwater and Freedom Square Rehabilitation & Nursing

Seven were reported by West Bay of Tampa, Grand Villa of Largo, Kensington Gardens Rehab and Nursing Center, Health and Rehabilitation Centre at Dolphins View, Bardmoor Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Arbor Oaks of Tyrone, The Care Center at Pinellas Park and Carrington Place of St. Pete.

Six were reported by Consulate Health Care of St. Petersburg, Regal Palms, Patrick Manor, Stratford Court of Palm Harbor and St. Petersburg Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Five were reported by Alpine Health and Rehabilitation, Tierra Pines Nursing Home in Largo, Palm Garden of Largo, Consulate Health Care of Safety Harbor and Highland Pines Rehabilitation Center, including one staff member.

Four deaths were reported by Bay Pointe Nursing Pavilion in St. Petersburg, Gateway Care Center of Pinellas, North Rehabilitation Center and Seasons Belleair Memory Care in Clearwater.

Three were reported by Grand Villa of Pinellas Park, Masonic Home of Florida in St. Petersburg, Angel Care Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, Country Inn, Eagle Lake Nursing and Rehab Center and Egret Cove Center in St. Petersburg.

Two deaths were reported by Evergreen Manor Retirement Home in Safety Harbor, Cross Terrace Rehabilitation Center, Abbey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Alhambra Health and Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg, Brentwood Senior Living at St. Pete, Bay Tree Center in Palm Harbor, Baytree Lakeside in Kenneth City, Oak Manor Senior Living Community, Palm Garden of Clearwater, Palm Garden of Pinellas, Lakeside Oaks Care Center, Marion and Bernard L. Samson Center, The Inn at Freedom Square, Grand Villa of St. Petersburg, Gulfport Rehabilitation Center, Royal Oaks Manor, Shore Acres Care Center in St. Petersburg, Seasons Largo, Sunset Point, Sabal Palms Health Care Center in Largo, South Heritage Health & Rehabilitation Center and Westminster Suncoast.

One death was reported by Westminster Palms in St. Petersburg, Wrights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Seminole, The Vineyard Inn in Largo, Union House in Clearwater, Sylvan Terrace in Pinellas Park, Seabreeze Siesta Manor in Clearwater, Pinellas Point Nursing and Rehab Center in St. Petersburg, Harborchase of Palm Harbor, Grand Villa of Clearwater, Grand Villa of Dunedin, Golfview Healthcare Center in St. Petersburg, The Inn at Lake Seminole Square, Heron House of Largo, Heather Haven in Dunedin, Heather Haven II in Dunedin, The Barrington, Belleair Health Center, Addington Place of East Lake, Clearwater Center and East Bay Rehabilitation Center in Clearwater.

Note: The Vineyard Inn tells Tampa Bay Newspapers it has no deaths; however, DOH reported one at that facility on its Aug. 8, 15, 22 and 29 reports.

COVID-19 deaths countywide

DOH reported five more COVID-19 related deaths on Sept. 1, including two women ages 93 and 85, and three men ages 99, 86 and 82. The death toll rose to 663.

Pinellas is tied with St. Lucie County for the fourth-highest death rate in the state at 3.3%. Charlotte County has the highest at 4.1%. Highlands County is No. 2 with 3.7%, Indian River is No. 3 with 3.6%

DOH confirmed the youngest death in the county on June 26: a 22-year-old man. Only 27 deaths have been reported statewide in the 15-24-year-old age group. Four deaths have been reported in the state in the age group 5-14.

In Pinellas, three deaths also has been reported in the 25-34 age group, five in the 35-44 group (1%), 19 in 45-54 (3%), 54 in 55-64 (8%), 128 in 65-74 (19%), 204 in 75-84 (31%) and 249 (38%) in ages 85 and up.

DOH reported eight deaths on Aug. 31, including three women, ages 84, 75 and 69, as well as five men, ages 94, 83, 69, 41 and 27. No new deaths were reported in Pinellas on Aug. 30. DOH reported five more COVID-19 related deaths on Aug. 29, including two women ages 94 and 79, and three men ages 84, 71 and 66.

DOH reported four new COVID-19 related deaths on Aug. 28, including one 70-year-old woman and three men ages 90, 70 and 58. Six deaths were reported on Aug. 27. All were women. Two were age 99, and the others were ages 94, 89, 80 and 74.

DOH confirmed five deaths on Aug. 26, including two women, ages 72 and 70, and three men, ages 84, 59 and 56.

DOH reported 18 deaths on Aug. 25, including 15 women and three men. Among the dead were three women age 87 and two age 72, as well as ages 95, 94, 91, 88, 86, 85, 78, 76, 71 and 65. The men were ages 76, 70 and 62.

DOH reported 13 more COVID-19 related deaths in Pinellas on Aug. 24. The dead included five women, ages 99, 93, 89, 80 and 79, plus eight men, ages 94, 89, 87, 84, 83, 67, 46 and 44.

Local state of emergency, face mask order

The Pinellas County Commission voted unanimously Aug. 27 to extend the local state of emergency through Friday, Sept. 4.

The countywide ordinance requiring that face masks be worn in indoor public places when social distancing is not possible remains in effect. They discussed when the state of emergency and the face mask ordinance might be lifted, but had no definitive answer except to say it would not be until at least two-three incubation periods (of 14 days each) passed after schools reopened.

Commissioners evaluate the latest information from staff every seven days before making a decision as to whether to extend the measures to try to prevent community spread of COVID-19.

The face mask ordinance says that retail employees must wear face coverings unless in an area that is not open to the public with social distancing measures in place.

Restaurants and staff at bars with a food license can only serve people who are seated. Social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained. Staff also must wear face masks when preparing or serving food or beverages indoors and outdoors.

Customers do not have to wear masks while eating or drinking. No congregating at the bars or any area is allowed.

For information on where to get a free face mask, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/free-face-masks/.

For more information on the county’s response to the coronavirus, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/.

Statewide cases top 630,000 with 11,375 deaths

The number of confirmed cases in Florida residents was up to 624,116 on Tuesday. Another 6,924 cases were reported in nonresidents. The state’s total was 631,040 — 7,569 more than the number reported on Monday due to what state officials are calling a “historical” data dump from Quest Diagnostics.

The numbers are cumulative going back to March 4. DOH has not provided information on how many people have recovered.

The number of deaths in Florida increased to 11,374, which is 187 more than reported on Aug. 31. DOH also reported that 144 non-Florida residents have died.

DOH reports that 38,859 residents have been hospitalized statewide, which is 364 more than the number reported on Saturday. No information was available about nonresidents.

Testing statewide

Looking at daily results, 6.81% of 104,656 COVID-19 test results statewide on Aug. 31 were positive; however, that number includes the data dump of historical results. Officials say if the historical data were excluded the positivity rate would be 5.89%.

DOH previously reported that 5.52% of 32,770 test results on Aug. 30 were positive. 5.14% of 50,515 results on Aug. 29, 4.97% of 61,328 on Aug. 28, 5.73% of 63,308 on Aug. 27, 6.36% of 48,623 on Aug. 26, 5.75% of 54,591 on Aug. 25 and 7.49% of 34,201 on Aug. 24.

DOH reported that 4,682,883 tests had been done statewide as of Aug. 31 with 13.48% coming back as positive, compared to 13.49% on Aug. 30-29, 13.51% on Aug. 28, 13.52% on Aug. 27 and 26 and 13.54% on Aug. 25 and 24. Results were inconclusive for 7,017 and pending for 3,459.

National cases exceed 6 million with 183,733 deaths

According to information from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, posted at 2 p.m. Tuesday, cases of the coronavirus reported in the United States were up to 6,045,064 with 183,733 deaths compared to 5,999,464 with 183,083 deaths at noon Monday. The number of global cases increased to 25,559,850 with 851,781 deaths compared to 25,259,201 with 846,985 deaths on Monday.

Suzette Porter



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