Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Infections keep climbing as state reports 5,556 new cases, 70 deaths

- By Cindy Krischer Goodman Sun Sentinel health reporter Cindy Goodman can be reached at cgoodman@ sunsentine­l.com

Even as vaccines roll out in the state, the number of new cases per day rose slightly in the last week. The seven-day average went from 5,154 per day a week ago to 5,489 per day on Tuesday.

Florida reported 5,556 new coronaviru­s cases on Tuesday and another 70 new resident deaths linked to COVID-19. The state has now reported 2,090,862 cases since the pandemic began.

In early January, the seven-day average for new cases had climbed as high as 17,991. After a dip in early March, it has been steadily rising.

South Florida

South Florida counties reported 2,570 new COVID19 cases Tuesday. July 2020 was the worst month for new cases in South Florida.

Palm Beach County: 265 additional cases and 4 more deaths. The county now has 133,836 confirmed cases and 2,728 deaths, including 52 non-residents.

Broward County: 789 additional cases and 5 more deaths. Broward has a known total of 218,973 cases and 2,752 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The death tally includes 46 non-residents.

Miami-Dade County: 1,516 additional cases and 7 new deaths. The county now has 453,345 confirmed cases and 5,966 deaths, including 42 non-residents.

Testing and positivity

Public health experts say the virus is considered under control when the COVID-19 test positivity rate is under 5%. But since Oct. 29, Florida has exceeded 5% in its widely publicized calculatio­n for assessing the rate for testing of residents. The rate is now inching closer to 7%.

The state reported a daily positivity rate of 6.89% on Tuesday, down from 7.37% the day before. This method of calculatin­g positivity counts new infections only but also counts repeat negative tests, which skews the figure downward.

According to the state, newly reported case numbers reflect the results of 79,282 COVID-19 tests of Florida residents received from labs in the past day, up from 48,494 results reported the day before.

The positivity rate has been rising in South Florida counties, particular­ly in Broward County where it surpassed 8% on Tuesday.

Palm Beach County: Test results for 4,031 residents were reported Tuesday, leading to a daily positivity rate of 6.33%. That’s down from 7.70% the previous day.

Broward County: Test results for 9,859 residents were reported Tuesday, leading to a daily positivity rate of 8.06%. That’s up from 7.41% the previous day.

Miami-Dade County: Test results for 21,371 residents were reported Tuesday, leading to a daily positivity rate of 6.98%. That’s down from 7.08% the previous day.

Deaths

The numbers of hospitaliz­ed COVID patients and deaths in South Florida have declined.

The state’s pandemic data report shows a total of 33,780 Floridians have died from COVID-19. In addition, 654 non-residents have died after contractin­g the virus. Most of the fatalities reported Tuesday happened over several weeks but were just confirmed in the past day.

Out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Florida ranks No. 23 for deaths per 100K residents and No. 16 for cases per 100K residents, according to the latest data from the health department and the COVID Tracking Project.

Hospitaliz­ations

As of Tuesday, there were 2,949 people hospitaliz­ed in Florida with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administra­tion.

In South Florida, Broward County reported 445, Palm Beach County had 172 and Miami-Dade had 486.

Hospitaliz­ations hit a peak in late July of about 9,500 patients statewide.

Vaccines

More than 6.35 million people in Florida have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

In Florida, 2,670,869 people have received their first dose of the vaccine, or about 12.44% of the population.

So far, 3,686,180 people have completed the series of doses required to be vaccinated. That represents about 17.16% of the population.

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