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Florida adds 4,471 COVID-19 cases and 77 deaths as hospitalizations rise in South Florida

Howard Cohen
·4 min read

Florida’s Department of Health on Saturday confirmed 4,471 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 776,251. Also, 77 resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident death toll to 16,417.

The state reduced the nonresident deaths figure by one, without explaining why, bringing the non-resident toll back to 203 after adding one on Friday..

The total cases’ figure is an increase over Friday’s 3,689 new cases and 73 deaths and follows Thursday’s 5,557 — the highest single-day count since Aug. 15 when 6,352 were reported. Since then, only Sept. 1 and Oct. 11 had higher reported numbers because of a “data dump” in the former and a combination of two days’ worth of numbers due to a technical issue.

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Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida

Miami-Dade County reported 616 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The county now has 181,633 confirmed cases and 3,605 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 3.11% to 2.48%. Miami-Dade has now tested 1,030,123 people, according to the dashboard. The 14-day average dipped from Friday’s 4.63% to 4.45%, according to Miami-Dade’s New Normal dashboard.

COVID-19 daily positive rate report from Miami-Dade’s New Normal on Oct. 24, 2020.
COVID-19 daily positive rate report from Miami-Dade’s New Normal on Oct. 24, 2020.

Broward County reported 459 additional confirmed cases of the disease and one new death. The county has a known total of 83,165 cases and 1,520 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 4.56% to 2.9%.

Palm Beach County saw 328 additional confirmed cases and three new deaths. The county now has 50,316 confirmed cases and 1,561 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 3.19% to 2.67%.

Monroe County confirmed 27 additional cases and no new deaths. The county has a known total of 2,178 cases and 25 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 5.13% to 5.16%.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida

One of the tools that officials rely on to determine whether the coronavirus situation is improving in the state is hospitalization data. Unlike testing, which might be limited or take days to report results, hospitalizations can help give officials a real-time snapshot of how many people are severely ill with COVID-19.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reports the number of patients hospitalized statewide with a “primary diagnosis of COVID.” The data, which is updated at least every hour, does not distinguish between the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units and those in acute-care beds, which require less attention from nurses.

Previously, the state was providing only the total number of hospitalizations in its statewide and county-level data. Miami-Dade was an exception, with hospitals self-reporting a number of key metrics, including hospitalizations, to the county, which has made this data public for several months.

As of 11:30 a.m. Saturday, there were 2,156 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, 114 more than Thursday evening, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This is still a significant decrease from early August, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state.

Of Saturday’s hospitalizations, there were 279 in Miami-Dade, a rise of 10 of compared to Thursday evening; 202 in Broward, a rise of 25; 128 in Palm Beach, a rise of 11; and five in in Monroe, a bump up of two, according to the agency.

Florida’s current hospitalization data does not always match the hospitalization data reported in Miami-Dade’s “New Normal” dashboard. Officials say this could be for a number of reasons, including the frequency of daily updates.

On Saturday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications increased from 351 to 367, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard. According to Wednesday’s data, 42 people were discharged and 49 people were admitted.

COVID-19 admitted patients in Miami-Dade on Oct. 24, 2020, according to Miami-Dade’s New Normal report.
COVID-19 admitted patients in Miami-Dade on Oct. 24, 2020, according to Miami-Dade’s New Normal report.

The state has had a total of 47,953 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

COVID-19 Testing in Florida

Testing, like hospitalizations, helps officials determine the virus’ progress and plays a role in deciding whether it is safe to lift stay-at-home orders and loosen restrictions.

Epidemiologists then use the testing data to create a positivity rate. The rate helps them determine if a rise in cases is because of an increase in testing or if it means there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.

On Saturday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 121,058 people tested on Friday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) decreased from 3.98% to 3.66%.