Florida adds 11,541 COVID-19 cases and 122 deaths. Broward sees a big gain

Florida’s Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed 11,541 additional cases of COVID-19 — the most since Friday. The state’s known total is now 1,155,335. Also, 122 new resident deaths were announced for a statewide resident toll of 20,204.

The state also added three new non-resident deaths to bring the cumulative non-resident toll to 286.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida

Miami-Dade County reported 2,375 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12 new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. That makes nine out of the last 10 days in which total cases in the county topped 2,000.

Miami-Dade now has 264,673 confirmed cases and 4,017 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 9.02% to 8.96%.

Broward County reported 1,371 additional confirmed cases and seven new deaths. That’s the most cases reported in the county since Nov. 27 when 1,644 were reported — and that was because two days’ worth of numbers were reported after Thanksgiving.

Broward has a known total of 122,883 cases and 1,757 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases decreased from 8.08% to 7.51%.

Palm Beach County saw 456 additional confirmed cases and 11 new deaths. The county has 73,998 confirmed cases and 1,796 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 8.19% to 8.28%.

Monroe County confirmed 22 additional cases and two new deaths. The county has a known total of 3,890 cases and 30 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 5.73% to 9.17%.

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 takes 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 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, there were 5,156 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This number is at mid-August levels, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state.

Of Tuesday’s hospitalizations, 914 were in Miami-Dade, 513 in Broward, 280 in Palm Beach and three in Monroe, according to the agency.

The state has had a total of 58,612 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

COVID-19 Testing in Florida

Testing in Florida has seen steady growth since the COVID-19 crisis began.

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 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 whether there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.

On Wednesday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 122,397 people tested on Tuesday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) decreased from 9.62% to 9.27%.

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