Florida COVID-19 death toll surpasses 50,000

The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Florida and the positivity rate continues to go down; however, reported deaths are increasing every week. And the transmission rate is still high.

For the third week in a row, Florida Department of Health reported fewer new COVID-19 cases, only 75,906, or 10,843 a day, from Sept. 10-16 compared to 100,012 for the week of Sept. 3-9. The cumulative total since March 2020 climbed to 3,485,163.

From Aug. 27-Sept. 2, DOH reported 129,240 new cases, 151,749 new cases for the week of Aug. 20-26, 150,118 for Aug. 13-19, 151,415 for Aug. 6-12 and 134,506 for July 30-Aug. 5.

DOH added 73,199 more cases to the tally for July 16-22, 45,603 for July 9-15, 23,748 for July 2-8, 15,978 for June 25-July 1 and 11,873 for June 18-24.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the transmission rate statewide in Florida is high. The rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 decreased by 23% compared to 15% the week before.

Hospital admissions increased by 19%. Two percent of hospitals statewide were reporting supply shortages and 21% reported staff shortages.

Death rate

DOH reported a statewide death toll of 51,240 – 2,468 more than the week of Sept. 3-9.

An increase in deaths is not unexpected after past week’s increases in case numbers. Officials refer to the death rate as a “lagging indicator,” meaning deaths typically occur a varying time after a case is diagnosed. In addition, reporting of deaths doesn’t always happen in a timely manner.

According to the CDC, the rate of deaths per 100,000 in Florida increased by 1% compared to a 73% decrease last week.

As of Sept. 16, 19 deaths had been reported in children under age 16 (two more than the week before), 340 in the age group 16-29 (33 more than the week before), 792 for ages 30-39 (98 more than the week before), 2,022 for ages 40-49 (165 more than the week before), 4,643 for ages 50-59 (367 more than the week before), 3,992 for ages 60-64 (262 more than the week before) and 39,432 for ages 64 and up (1,541 more than the week before).

Positivity rate

The state’s new case positivity rate also continued its downward trajectory hitting 11.2% for the week of Sept. 10-16 compared to 13.5% the week of Sept. 3-9 and 15.2% for Aug. 27-Sept. 2, which was a decrease from 16.8% from the week of Aug. 20-26 and the first decline in the positivity rate since July.

The highest positivity rate, 14.9%, was reported in the age group 12-19 followed by 13% for those under age 12 and 12.1% for ages 30-39.

The lowest positivity rate, 8%, was reported in ages 65 and above with 9.2% for the age group 60-64 and 9.9% for those ages 50-59.

Pinellas County

In Pinellas County, the new case positivity rate for the week of Sept. 10-16 was 11.8% down from 14.7% reported Sept. 3-9, 16.3% reported for Aug. 27-Sept. 2 and 18% reported for Aug. 20-26.

Pinellas County’s new case count went up by 3,506, an average of 501 a day, for the week of Sept. 10-16. The cumulative case count rose to 127,888.

DOH reported 4,430 new cases for the week of Sept. 3-9, 5,683 for the week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2 and 6,720 for Aug. 20-26.

The CDC reports that the transmission rate in Pinellas is high with a 22% decrease in new cases over the past seven days. New hospital admissions totaled 623. New admission decreased by 6%.

Pinellas County launched its new COVID-19 dashboard Sept. 17, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/dashboard/.

The dashboard includes details on testing, vaccinations and information from local hospitals. As of Sept. 18, all hospitals were reporting high stress to extreme stress in the percent of inpatient beds being used for COVID patients. High to moderate stress was being reported for ICU beds. Countywide 21% of regular beds and 37% of ICU beds were in use by a COVID-19 patient.

The two highest occupancies reported were at Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor with 32% of beds in use by COVID patients and 92% of beds in use overall with 30% of ICU beds being used by COVID patients and 94% of all ICU beds in use. Baycare Alliant Hospital in Dunedin reported 27% of beds were in use by COVID patients with 107% of beds overall in use.

DOH ended its daily reports of COVID-19 activity on June 2 and no longer reports on deaths by county.

Information about COVID in Pinellas is available at https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/.

70% of Floridians get at least one shot

DOH reports that the state’s vaccination rate increased by 1% from the week of Sept. 3-9. Seventy percent of ages 12 and older have received at least one dose.

As of Sept. 16, DOH reported that 19,119,043 Floridians had received a COVID-19 shot with 1,940,784 receiving a first-dose only and 11,208,873 completing the one- or two-shot series. DOH also reported that 277,551 had taken an additional dose.

According to DOH, 88% of those 65 and older had received at least one shot, 83% of ages 60-64, 76% of ages 50-59, 70% of ages 40-49, 61% of ages 30-39, 51% of ages 20-29 and 53% of ages 12-19.

In Pinellas County, 586,818 had received at least one dose of vaccine out of a population of 992,298, or 66%, an increase of 1% from last week. According to the county’ dashboard, 56% of residents are fully vaccinated, meaning they have received either one or two-shots as required.

United States and global numbers

According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of the afternoon of Sept. 18, 42 million cases and 673,306 deaths had been reported in the United States, and 227.9 million cases had been reported worldwide with 4.68 million deaths. In addition, more 956,474 vaccine doses had been administered in the U.S. with 55% of the population being fully vaccinated.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at sporter@tbnweekly.com.