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Pinellas County’s cumulative total of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased to 2,887, according to the report released Thursday from the state Department of Health. The county’s death toll increased to 112.

Florida Department of Health reported 203 new COVID-19 cases in Pinellas Thursday morning, bringing the count to 2,887. Two more residents have died due to the novel coronavirus. The death toll increased to 112.

So far this week, 702 new cases and 10 deaths have been reported. Thursday’s increase of 203 cases was a new one-day high for the county.

In comparison, 659 new cases and seven deaths were reported from June 8-14. DOH reported 162 new cases on June 13, which had been the previous one-day high. DOH reported 286 new cases and 13 deaths in the county during the week, June 1-7, including 81 on June 5, the day the state moved into phase two of its recovery plans.

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

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

Statewide, the cumulative number of cases increased to 85,926 with 3,061 deaths on Thursday. Cases in the United States totaled 2,168,414 with 117,832 deaths. Globally, more than 8.39 million cases have been reported with 449,898 deaths.

COVID-19 cases in Pinellas include 2,831 residents and 56 non-residents. More cases were in females, 58%, to 42% in males. Ages range from 1-102. Median age was 44. The case count is growing in the age range of 25-34, as well as in blacks, which make up 25% of cases; however, the percentage for Hispanics declined from 9% to 8% on Thursday.

DOH reported that 512 have been hospitalized in Pinellas since March, which includes 495 residents (12 more than Wednesday) and 17 nonresidents. About 18% people with confirmed cases have been hospitalized since March. This percentage has been decreasing in recent days. However, an uptick has been observed at emergency rooms with people complaining of COVID-19 symptoms.

Local hospitals reported 24.5% available bed capacity on Thursday with nearly 15% capacity for adult ICU beds.

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Charts on the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard provide data on ages, number of new cases by day and other county-specific details. This one is for Pinellas. Note: the median age on this graphic is in conflict with written information that shows the median age to be 44. The number hospitalized is for residents only.

Testing in Pinellas

DOH reported on June 18 that 70,651 tests had been done in Pinellas with an average of 4.1% being positive. However, on June 17, the data and surveillance dashboard showed that 72,554 COVID-19 tests had been done in Pinellas with an average of 3.7% of test results being positive.

The percent positive has been steadily rising from 3.6% on June 16, 3.4% on June 15, 3.3 on June 14 and 3.2% on June 13.

According to the detail report released June 17, 172, or 12.1%, of 1,249 tests from June 16 were positive. Twenty tests were inconclusive and results were pending for 41. On June 16, DOH reported that 136, or 6.6%, of 1,918 tests from June 15 were positive.

A summary report for Pinellas shows 4.3% of tests from June 14 were positive, 5% from June 13, 3.1% from June 12, 3.8% from June 11, 4.6% from June 10 and 3.1% from June 9. The numbers do not include people that have previously tested 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.

Case counts in local municipalities

DOH provided updated and revised information on the city of residence for 2,629 of the cases in Pinellas on Wednesday. St. Petersburg has the most with 1,314 cases (50%), 398 are Clearwater residents, 281 from Largo, 180 from Seminole, 127 from Pinellas Park, 101 from Palm Harbor, 48 from Tarpon Springs, 39 from Dunedin, 23 from Safety Harbor, 22 from Oldsmar, 19 from Clearwater Beach, 12 from Indian Rocks Beach, 11 from Gulfport, eight from South Pasadena and Kenneth City, six from Madeira Beach, three each from Belleair, Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs and North Redington Beach, two each from Bay Pines, Lealman, Crystal Beach and St. Pete Beach, and one each from Indian Shores, Treasure Island and Tierra Verde, and one listed as homeless.

Case numbers at long-term care facilities

Since March, 644 cases have been reported at long-term care facilities, or 24% of cases in the county.

At least one case has been reported at 78 of the county’s long-term care facilities as of June 16 with 318 cases in residents and 218 in staff at the facilities. The numbers do not reflect current infections.

DOH reported on June 16 that 83 cases had been reported by Gulf Shore Care Center, 76 cases by St. Petersburg Nursing and Rehab, 55 cases had been reported by Freedom Square Seminole Nursing Pavilion, 41 by Bon Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center in St. Petersburg, 40 by Carrington Place of St. Pete, 25 by Freedom Square Health Care Center in Seminole, 21 by Grand Villa of St. Petersburg, 19 by Bardmoor Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Largo, 15 by North Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg , 17 by St. Mark Village nursing home in Palm Harbor, 10 by Marion and Bernard L. Samson Nursing Center in St. Petersburg, and 10 by Patrick Manor in St. Petersburg. The rest had less than 10 cases.

These numbers are provisional and subject to change.

COVID-19 deaths

DOH reported on June 18 that two more county residents had died due to COVID-19, bringing the death count to 112. No further details were available.

At least 83 of the county’s 112 deaths were residents or staff at one of the county’s long-term care facilities. According to a weekly report from DOH released June 13, 26 deaths were from Freedom Square Seminole Nursing Pavilion, including one staff member; 16 from Gulf Shore Care Center; 11 deaths from St. Mark Village; six from Freedom Square Rehabilitation & Nursing Services; five from Patrick Manor; three from St. Petersburg Nursing and Rehab; three from Health and Rehabilitation Centre at Dolphins View; and two from the Inn at Freedom Square.

In addition, one death each was reported at Bardmoor Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Bay Tree Center in Palm Harbor, Palm Garden in Clearwater, Palm Garden of Pinellas, Addington Place of East Lake in Tarpon Springs and Sable Palms Health Care Center in Largo. Note: Palm Garden in Clearwater tells Tampa Bay Newspapers it has no deaths.

DOH reported on June 17 that three women had died, including a 65-year-old, 80-year-old and an 85-year-old. On June 16, DOH confirmed the deaths of five women, including a 79-year-old, 96-year-old, 102-year-old, 80-year-old and 93-year-old.

District Six Medical Examiner’s office released two death reports on June 15 for two women who got sick at home and then died at a local hospital, including a 79-year-old woman who died June 13 and an 80-year-old woman who died June 12. In the report on the 80-year-old, it was noted that other family members had tested positive for COVID-19 and at least one relative was seriously ill.

DOH reported on June 12 that an 86-year-old woman had died, and on June 11 confirmed that a 65-year-old woman had died. The medical examiner’s office released seven death investigation reports the same day, including a 77-year-old man who died June 7, a 73-year-old man who died June 2, a 90-year-old woman who died June 9 and a 65-year-old woman who died June 10. All four were residents of Gulf Shore Care Center.

Local state of emergency extended

The Pinellas County Commission voted June 18 to extend the local state of emergency through June 26. Commissioners discussed possible measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including the possibility for mandatory face masks and better enforcement of existing state orders on capacity in local restaurants and bars.

Commissioners urge the public to wear cloth masks when in large groups and in enclosed public spaces. They also ask that people remember to use social distancing, wash their hands and continue good sanitation and hygiene measures.

The also decided not to hold an in-person meeting on June 23, but instead will continue to meet virtually. Public hearings have been canceled. They are expected to discuss the emergency ordinance on COVID-19 at that meeting.

For more information, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/.

State cases near 86,000 with 3,061 deaths

The number of confirmed cases in Florida residents was up to 83,854 on Thursday. Another 2,072 cases were reported in non-residents, bringing the state’s total to 85,926— 3,207 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 increased to 3,061, which is 43 more than the number reported the day before.

DOH reports that 12,577 have been hospitalized statewide.

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Charts on the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard provide statewide information on ages, number of new cases by day and other details.

DOH reported on June 18 that 1,512,315 people had been tested statewide. DOH says 5.7% of results were positive, which is up from 5.6% on Wednesday and 5.5% on Tuesday. The state reported that 5.4% had tested positive on June 14 and 15, and 5.3% as of June 12.

As of June 17, 1,000 tests were inconclusive and results were pending for 1,240.

Of the 85,926 cases, 2,315 were travel-related, 37,533 had contact with a confirmed case, 2,237 had travel and contact with a confirmed case and 32,829 were under investigation.

Statewide recovery plans

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced during a June 3 press conference that the state was moving into phase 2 of its recovery plan. Bars and pubs were allowed to reopen on June 5 with 50% indoor capacity and no restrictions on outdoor seating except to maintain social distancing. All customers must be seated to be served. The new rules do not apply to nightclubs, which remain closed.

Restaurants were allowed to seat customers at their bars as of June 5 and can continue to operate at 50% capacity.

DeSantis changed the rules to allow gatherings of up to 50 people, instead of 10.

Retail establishments and gyms were allowed to open at full capacity. In-store retail businesses, including gyms and fitness centers, must still adhere to social distancing guidelines keeping 6 feet apart. Sanitation protocols also are a requirement.

Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, bowling alleys and concert halls, were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity.

In addition, the governor said other personal services could reopen, such as tattoo parlors, tanning, massage and acupuncture, but they must use Florida Department of Health guidance.

Pari-mutuel facilities were allowed to submit reopening plans. The state’s universities have until June 23 to submit reopening plans. The governor announced plans during a June 11 press conference to reopen schools in August.

Persons age 65 and older and those with underlying medical conditions are still urged to avoid crowds and exposure to COVID-19. The governor also urged others to be careful when interacting with those more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus virus.

In the written order, it says that all persons who work in long-term care facilities should be tested for COVID-19 on a routine basis. Visitation by family and friends is still prohibited.

Governor attributes rising case numbers to testing

DeSantis held a press conference June 16. He said he has no plans to impose any new restrictions or require that people wear face masks. The state will not be shutting down or rolling back, he said.

DeSantis attributed the high numbers of new cases to an increase in what he called “surveillance testing.”

He said during most of the pandemic, the state had averaged 5%-10% in positive tests, dropping down to less than 3% before he started reopening things. Recently, the rate of positivity has been 4.9%.

DeSantis attributed that increase to not only more testing but also to the fact that testing was taking place in high risk environments, such as in agriculture/migrant workers, who live in close confines, and with construction workers that also are in close contact with one another.

More tests also are being done in jails and prisons, as well as long-term care facilities, both places where there is congregant living and a high risk of spread.

DeSantis still has no plans to allow visitation at long-term care facilities. He said that population needs to be protected. Staff is required to be tested every two weeks.

He also said he wouldn’t require the use of face masks “under the penalty of breaking the law;” however, he does recommend, and said that the CDC recommends, that people wear masks when they can’t social distance and when conducting “face-to-face business.”

He also pointed out that more of the positive tests were in the younger demographic and that there was no effect on the state’s hospital capacity.

National cases exceed 2.16 million with 117,832 deaths

According to information from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, posted at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, cases of the coronavirus reported in the United States were up to 2,168,414 with 117,832 deaths compared to 2,137,604 with 116,964 deaths at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The number of global cases increased to 8,391,551 with 449,898 deaths compared to 8,204,947 with 444,426 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 sporter@tbnweekly.com.

Note: All information is subject to change.