Florida Department of Health reported 113 new COVID-19 cases in Pinellas County on Oct. 15, bringing the count to 23,623. Four more residents have died due to the novel coronavirus, upping the death toll to 792.
Since Oct. 12, 462 new cases and 10 deaths have been reported. DOH has reported more than 100 new cases three days this week, including 143 on Oct. 14 and 152 on Oct. 13.
From Oct. 5-11, 652 cases and 19 deaths were reported in Pinellas. The death count was the same as the week before, but the case count increased significantly.
Oct. 5-11 was the first time since the week of Aug. 17-23 that more than 600 new cases were reported in one week. DOH reported 669 new cases from Aug. 17-23 and 51 deaths. Oct. 8 was the first time since Sept. 26 that more than 100 new cases were reported in a single day. DOH reported 125 on Oct. 8 and 119 new cases on Sept. 26.
Statewide, the cumulative number of cases increased to 744,988 with 15,932 deaths on Oct. 15. Cases in the United States totaled 7,817,863 with 215,089 deaths. Globally, more than 38.6 million cases have been reported with over 1.09 million deaths.
COVID-19 cases in Pinellas included 23,455 residents and 168 non-residents. More cases were in females, 12,644 (54%), to 10,806 in males. Gender was unknown in five. Ages range from 0-105. Median age was 43. Eighteen percent were Black, and 12% were Hispanic.
About 10% of all cases in the county have been hospitalized since March. DOH reported that 2,409 residents and 24 non-residents had been hospitalized in Pinellas.
Local hospitals had 28% capacity in staffed adult beds (906 of 3,250) on Wednesday with 17% capacity (51 of 301) in ICU beds. Two hospitals reported zero capacity in ICU beds, Morton Plant and Northside. According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, as of 10:30 a.m. Oct. 14, 118 beds were occupied by a COVID-19 patient with 27 in ICU and 16 on a ventilator.
State delays report
For the first time in months, no daily reports were released on Oct. 10. DOH announced late that afternoon that the reports would be delayed until Oct. 11.
According to a press release, DOH received approximately 400,000 previously-reported COVID-19 test results from Helix Laboratory – a private lab that is not affiliated with the state of Florida.
Officials said the massive size of the data file and the need to de-duplicate hundreds of thousands of results prevented DOH’s automatic reporting system from processing results. State epidemiologists were working to reconcile the data, which officials said would take a day to finish.
However, Helix Laboratory sent an email to Tampa Bay Newspapers on Oct. 13, stating that the state had released a new statement, clarifying events. Helix says it submitted about 3,000 results in accordance with procedures required by the state and was not at fault in the incident.
“As far as we can tell, our transmission was normal,” Helix said. “Due to an unforeseen issue not caused by Helix, however, previously reported historical data was repeated.”
The state confirmed that the issue was not the fault of Helix or DOH and says it is working with technical experts to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
While the report released Oct. 11 showed combined numbers for Oct. 9-10, the Data and Surveillance Dashboard graphic did show numbers of new cases for each of those days. Pinellas had 83 new cases on Oct. 9 and 163 on Oct. 10, which was the first time more than 160 cases were reported in one day since Aug. 4 when DOH reported 161 new cases.
Reports of new cases and deaths continue
From Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 505 new cases were reported and 19 deaths — down one case from the week prior with four fewer deaths. From Sept. 21-27, 506 new cases were reported and 23 deaths, which was a decrease in cases but an increase in deaths from the previous week.
From Sept. 14-20, DOH reported 576 new COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths, which was an increase in the case count compared to the two prior weeks.
From Sept. 7-13, 497 cases and 29 deaths were reported. The case count was a decrease compared to the prior week, but an increase from Aug. 24-30. The death count was higher than the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6.
From Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 537 cases and 22 deaths were reported. It was the first time the weekly case count increased since Aug. 24-30. The increase may be due in part to the Aug. 31 data dump by Quest Diagnostics of almost 75,000 test results dating back to April. The state severed all ties with Quest because it failed to follow the state’s law and report results of COVID-19 tests in a timely manner.
From Aug. 24-30, 457 cases and 59 deaths were reported. It was the sixth consecutive week DOH had 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.
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.
Case counts surged as Florida initiated 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 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.
Testing in Pinellas
A slight rise in positivity rates is evident in recent reports. DOH reported that 4.05% of 2,866 test results on Oct. 14 were positive, 5.67% of 2,330 results on Oct. 13, 6.31% of 2,331 results on Oct. 12 and 4.13% of 1,322 results on Oct. 11.
The state reported on Oct. 11 that 3.22% of 5,083 test results on Oct. 10 were positive and 16.31% of 431 results on Oct. 9; however, due to the data dump of previously reported lab results, which prevented normal processing of results on Oct. 9, the state says the most accurate way to interpret percent positivity for those two days is to average them. The two-day average of results from Oct. 9-10 was 4.39%.
Previous results in October showed 3.23% of 2,847 test results on Oct. 8 were positive, 4.01% of 3,065 results on Oct. 7, 3.95% of 2,309 on Oct. 6, 3.25% of 1,908 on Oct. 5, 2.83% of 1,479 on Oct. 4, 2.91% of 2,302 on Oct. 3, 4.48% of 2,194 on Oct. 2 and 2.47% of 3,235 on Oct. 1.
The positivity rate for cumulative tests also shows a small increase. DOH reported that 236,336 tests have been done in Pinellas in since March, and as of Oct. 14, the average rate of positive results was 9.92% the same as on Oct. 13, compared to 9.89% on Oct. 12-10, N/A on Oct. 9, 9.85% on Oct. 8, 9.86% on Oct. 7-6, 9.87% on Oct. 5, 9.88% on Oct. 4, 9.90% on Oct. 3 and 9.91% on Oct. 2-1. Results were inconclusive for 152. DOH is no longer reporting the number pending.
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.
The positivity rate for individuals under the age of 18 remains stable. As of Oct. 13, 1,659, or 9.8%, of 17,013 tests of those younger than 18 in Pinellas were positive. Statewide, 62,148, or 12.7% of 489,452 tests were positive.
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/.
Cases in Pinellas County schools
Pinellas County Schools reported on Oct. 15 that as of Oct. 14 10 more students and four employees had tested positive for COVID-19.
One student attended Palm Harbor High School and six partial classrooms were affected. Two students attended Pinellas Technical College in St. Petersburg. One classroom affected.
One student attended Disston Academy in Gulfport. The district said there was no impact to classrooms or buses. One student attended Ponce deLeon Elementary School in Clearwater and a small group of students were affected.
One student attended Hollins High School in St. Petersburg and seven partial classrooms were affected. One student attended Pinellas Park High School. There was no impact to classrooms or buses, and there was no impact when a student attending Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary School tested positive.
One student attended Seventy-Fourth Street Elementary School in St. Petersburg and one classroom and one partial bus were affected. One student attended Discovery Academy of Science charter school in Dunedin and one classroom was affected.
There was no impact to classrooms or buses from employees testing positive. One employee worked at Lakewood Elementary School. One worked at Countryside High School. Two employees worked at Shore Acres Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
The district reported on Oct. 14 that as of Oct. 13, eight more students and five employees had tested positive for COVID-19.
One student attended East Lake High School and 12 partial classrooms were affected. One student attended Boca Ciega High School and the swim team was partially impacted.
One student attended Frontier Elementary School in Clearwater and one partial classroom was affected. One student attended Seminole High School and four partial classrooms were affected.
One student and one teacher were from Osceola Middle School in Seminole. No impact was reported to classrooms or buses. One student and one employee were from Plato Academy charter school in St. Petersburg. No impact was reported.
One employee worked at Cypress Woods Elementary School in Palm Harbor. No impact was reported. One employee worked at Oak Grove Middle School in Clearwater. No impact was reported.
One employee worked at Lake St. George Elementary School in Palm Harbor and five partial classrooms were affected.
The district reported on Oct. 13, that eight students and five employees tested positive from Oct. 10-12.
One student attended St. Petersburg High School and five partial classrooms were affected. One student attended Clearwater Adult Education Center. No impact was reported. One student attended East Lake High School. No impact was reported.
One student attended Safety Harbor Middle School and seven partial classrooms were affected. One student attended Tarpon Springs High School. No impact was reported. One student attended McMullen-Booth Elementary School. No impact. One employee worked at Madeira Beach Fundamental. No impact.
One student and one employee were from Bardmoor Elementary School in Seminole and one classroom was affected. Two employees and one student were from Plato Academy Palm Harbor Charter School. Multiple classrooms were affected. One employee worked at Plato Academy St. Petersburg Charter School and one classroom was impacted.
For more information, visit https://www.pcsb.org/COVID19Cases.
Case counts in local municipalities
DOH provided updated and revised information on the city of residence for cases in Pinellas on Thursday, Oct. 15. St. Petersburg has the most with 9,446 cases, 4,652 are Clearwater residents, 2,430 from Largo, 1,379 from Palm Harbor, 1,188 from Pinellas Park, 1,173 from Seminole, 748 from Tarpon Springs, 619 from Dunedin, 432 from Oldsmar, 320 from Safety Harbor, 159 from Clearwater Beach, 155 from Gulfport, 132 from Kenneth City, 118 from South Pasadena, 78 from Indian Rocks Beach, 49 from Belleair, 39 from Madeira Beach, 29 from Belleair Beach, 25 from Crystal Beach, 19 from St. Pete Beach, 19 from Tierra Verde, 15 from North Redington Beach, 15 from Bay Pines, 13 from Treasure Island, four from Belleair Bluffs and Redington Shores, three from Indian Shores, Ozona, Lealman and Redington Beach, one listed as homeless and 183 as missing.
Cases and deaths at long-term care facilities
Since March, 4,039 cases have been reported at long-term care facilities, or 17% of cases in the county. Carrington Place (64 beds) and Countryside Rehab and Health Care Center (120 beds) are designated COVID-19 isolation Centers.
The state’s emergency rules requiring biweekly testing at staff at nursing homes and assisted living facilities expired Sept. 13. Nursing homes must continue staff testing under federal rules.
At least 550 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 9% of deaths at these facilities. Dade County is No. 1 with 829 deaths, or 13%, and Palm Beach County is No. 2 with 664 deaths, or 10%.
According to a weekly report from DOH released Oct. 7, as of Oct. 2, 29 deaths had been reported by Countryside Rehab and Healthcare Center; 28 deaths by Freedom Square Seminole Nursing Pavilion, including one staff member; 26 by Bon Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center; 25 by Jacaranda Manor, including two under investigation; 23 by Gulf Shore Care Center; 20 by Oak Manor Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center; 20 by Peninsula Care and Rehabilitation Center, including three under investigation; 17 by Apollo Health and Rehabilitation Center; 13 by Boca Ciega Center; 12 by Abbey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center; and 11 deaths by St. Mark Village.
Ten were reported by Bardmoor Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Walton Place, The Oaks of Clearwater, Bay Pointe Nursing Pavilion in St. Petersburg, Inn at the Fountains in St. Petersburg and Lexington Health and Rehabilitation Center, including one under investigation.
Nine deaths were reported by Tierra Pines Nursing Home in Largo, Freedom Square Rehabilitation & Nursing and Gulfport Rehabilitation Center, including one under investigation. Eight were reported by West Bay of Tampa and The Care Center at Pinellas Park.
Seven were reported by Carrington Place of St. Pete, Grand Villa of Largo, Kensington Gardens Rehab and Nursing Center, Health and Rehabilitation Centre at Dolphins View, and Arbor Oaks of Tyrone.
Six were reported by Consulate Health Care of St. Petersburg, Regal Palms, Consulate Health Care of Safety Harbor, Patrick Manor, Stratford Court of Palm Harbor and St. Petersburg Nursing and Rehabilitation.
Five were reported by Palm Garden of Largo, Alpine Health and Rehabilitation and Highland Pines Rehabilitation Center.
Four deaths were reported by Marion and Bernard L. Samson Center, Evergreen Manor Retirement Home in Safety Harbor, Angel Care Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, Eagle Lake Nursing and Rehab Center, Gateway Care Center of Pinellas, Harbourwood Care Center in Clearwater, North Rehabilitation Center, Seasons Belleair Memory Care in Clearwater, Seasons Largo, South Heritage Health & Rehabilitation Center, Egret Cove Center in St. Petersburg and Grand Villa of St. Petersburg.
Three were reported by Baytree Lakeside in Kenneth City, Palm Garden of Pinellas, Grand Villa of Pinellas Park, Masonic Home of Florida in St. Petersburg and Country Inn, Belleair Health Center.
Two deaths were reported by Cross Terrace Rehabilitation Center, Alhambra Health and Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg, Brentwood Senior Living at St. Pete, Bay Tree Center in Palm Harbor, Palm Garden of Clearwater, East Bay Rehabilitation Center in Clearwater, Grand Villa of Clearwater, Harborchase of Palm Harbor, The Inn at Freedom Square, The Inn at Lake Seminole Square, Royal Oaks Manor, Shore Acres Care Center in St. Petersburg, Sunset Point, Sabal Palms Health Care Center in Largo, PARC of St. Petersburg, Heron House of Largo, Westminster Suncoast, Pinellas Point Nursing and Rehab Center in St. Petersburg, and Lakeside Oaks Care Center, including one under investigation.
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 Health Center in Clearwater, Sylvan Terrace in Pinellas Park, Princeton Village of Largo, Seabreeze Siesta Manor in Clearwater, Grand Villa of Dunedin, Golfview Healthcare Center in St. Petersburg, Heather Haven in Dunedin, Heather Haven II in Dunedin, Magnolia Gardens Assisted Living in Pinellas Park, The Barrington, Addington Place of East Lake, Addington Place of College Harbor in St. Petersburg, Clearwater Center, Bristol Court Assisted Living Community in St. Petersburg, Glen Oaks Health and Rehabilitation Center in Clearwater, Laurellwood Care Center in St. Petersburg and Bayside Care Center in St. Petersburg.
COVID-19 deaths countywide
DOH reported four more COVID-19 related deaths on Oct. 15. All were women, ages 90, 87, 76 and 65. The death toll rose to 792.
Pinellas has the sixth highest death rate in the state at 3.4% and 792 deaths. Charlotte County has the highest rate at 4.6% and 151 deaths. Hernando has the second highest rate at 4.5% and 151 deaths. Highlands County (100 deaths) is tied with Citrus County (124 deaths) for No. 3 with a rate of 4.2%. St. Lucie County is No. 4 with a rate of 3.7% and 311 deaths. Indian River County is No. 5 with a rate of 3.5% and 121 deaths.
In Pinellas, one death has been reported in the 15-24 age group, three deaths in the 25-34 age group, six in the 35-44 group (1%), 21 in 45-54 (3%), 66 in 55-64 (8%), 155 in 65-74 (20%), 243 in 75-84 (31%) and 297 (38%) in ages 85 and up.
DOH added one more death to the county’s total on Oct. 14. Details were released on two: an 83-year-old woman and a 74-year-old woman. DOH reported four more COVID-19 related deaths on Oct. 13, including two women ages 90 and 88, and two men ages 71 and 68.
DOH reported the death of a 74-year-old woman on Oct. 12. DOH reported two more COVID-19 related deaths on Oct. 11. However, no details of those deaths were included in the daily line list report. Comparing the summary report on cases and deaths, it appears one of the new deaths was in the 45-54 age group and one in the age 85 and up. No information on gender was available.
DOH reported four deaths in Pinellas on Oct. 9, including two women ages 85 and 64, and two men ages 59 and 53. DOH reported on Oct. 8 that two women age 95 and 90 had died due to COVID-19.
DOH reported six deaths on Oct. 7, including five women ages 92, 84, 68, 68 and 56, and one man age 79. DOH reported four deaths on Oct. 6, but the death toll rose by only two to total 768. However, details were released on four, including two women ages 98 and 89, and two men ages 97 and 88.
DOH reported three more COVID-19 related deaths on Oct. 5, including one woman age 82 and two men ages 74 and 63. No new deaths were reported on Oct. 4. DOH reported four deaths in Pinellas on Oct. 3, and provided details on seven, including one women age 94, and six men ages 92, 86, 75, 75, 65 and 64.
DOH reported four deaths in Pinellas on Oct. 2, including three women ages 100, 78 and 76, and one man age 90. DOH reported two deaths on Oct. 1 and released details on three, including one woman age 90 and two men ages 86 and 84.
Local state of emergency, face mask order
Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton has extended the local state of emergency through Oct. 23. The ordinance requiring that facial covering be worn in indoor places remains in effect.
Commissioners voted Sept. 22 to delegate authority to the administrator to approve future extensions of the local state of emergency when regular meetings are not scheduled. The extensions must be done every seven days per state law.
In a press release officials said they were closely watching a recent increase in the 7-day rolling averages for new COVID-19 cases and the percentage of positive tests.
“We encourage residents to continue to protect themselves from COVID-19 by wearing their face coverings, practicing social distancing when possible, washing hands often, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and following up with their primary care provider for routine checkups,” said Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas.
Burton told commissioner during an Oct. 6 meeting he had met with administrators in Hillsborough and Pasco counties to seek a regional approach to managing community spread. He also said that local hospital executives were working on recommendations for metrics that could be used to consider future actions, such as eliminating or reinstituting a face mask ordinance. That information is expected to be available by the commission’s Oct. 20 meeting.
The commission will discuss the next extension on Tuesday, Oct. 20, during a virtual meeting that begins at 2 p.m.
The countywide ordinance requires that face masks be worn in indoor public places when social distancing is not possible also remains in effect. The ordinance requires that retail employees 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 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 in any area is allowed.
The ordinance includes a number of exemptions for those that might not be able to wear a face masks; however, private businesses do not have to allow for those exemptions.
For more information on the county’s response to the coronavirus, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/.
Statewide cases top 740,000 with 15,932 deaths
The number of confirmed cases in Florida residents was up to 735,685 on Thursday. Another 9,303 cases were reported in non-residents, bringing the total 744,988 — 3,356 more than the number reported on Wednesday.
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 residents increased to 15,736 deaths, which is 141 more than the number reported on Wednesday. DOH also reported that 196 non-residents have died, four more than the reported the day before, bringing the state’s death toll to 15,932.
DOH reports that 46,593 residents have been hospitalized statewide, 211 more than the number reported on Wednesday. No information was available about non-residents.
DOH reported that 5.20% of 60,681 test results on Oct. 14 were positive, 5.42% of 50,106 results on Oct. 13, 4.99% of 51,540 on Oct. 12 and 4.28% of 35,562 results on Oct. 11.
The state reported on Oct. 11 that 3.47% of 102,982 test results on Oct. 10 were positive and 7.88% of 20,938 results on Oct. 9; however, due to the data dump of previously reported lab results, which prevented normal processing of results on Oct. 9, the state says the most accurate way to interpret percent positivity for those two days is to average them. The two-day average of results from Oct. 9-10 was 4.24%.
Previous results in October showed 4.13% of 67,334 test results on Oct. 8 were positive, 4.57% of 68,792 results on Oct. 7, 4.15% of 58,810 on Oct. 6, 5.26% of 41,129 on Oct. 5, 3.93% of 34,303 on Oct. 4, 3.74% of 48,061 on Oct. 3, 4.79% of 56,109 on Oct. 2 and 3.77% of 68,777 on Oct. 1.
DOH reported results of 5,650,724 cumulative tests done statewide on residents and nonresidents with 13.18% coming back as positive as of Oct. 14, compared to 13.19% on Oct. 13-12, 13.20% on Oct. 11, 13.22% on Oct. 10, N/A on Oct. 9, 13.19% on Oct. 8, 13.21% on Oct. 7, 13.22% on Oct. 6, 13.24% on Oct. 5, 13.25% on Oct. 4, 13.26% on Oct. 3, 13.27% on Oct. 2 and 13.28% on Oct. 1. Results were inconclusive for 7,203. DOH is no longer reporting the number of pending test results.
National cases up to 7.92 million with 216,904 deaths
According to information from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, posted at 1 p.m. Thursday, cases of the coronavirus reported in the United States were up to 7,927,975 with 216,904 deaths compared 7,864,910 with 215,955 deaths at 1 p.m. Wednesday. The number of global cases increased to 38,620,496 with 1,093,359 deaths compared 38,275,349 with 1,087,470 deaths on Wednesday.
For more information on the coronavirus, visit www.floridahealth.gov/index.html.
Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Note: All numbers are provisional and subject to change.