Florida confirms 4,311 COVID-19 cases, 106 coronavirus deaths

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Saturday brought some further dips in COVID-19 cases across South Florida’s four counties — and statewide. Florida’s Department of Health announced 4,311 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 — a drop of 373 compared to Friday’s 4,684 — bringing the state’s known total to 597,597. Florida’s Department of Health on Friday […]

Saturday brought some further dips in COVID-19 cases across South Florida’s four counties — and statewide.

Florida’s Department of Health announced 4,311 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 — a drop of 373 compared to Friday’s 4,684 — bringing the state’s known total to 597,597.

Florida’s Department of Health on Friday announced 106 COVID-related resident deaths statewide — fewer than the 119 reported Friday — to bring the state’s resident death toll to 10,168.

For a third consecutive day, there were no new non-resident deaths to announce, leaving the non-resident toll at 137.

Listen to today’s top stories from the Miami Herald:

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in South Florida

Note: The Florida Department of Health says that each county’s percent positivity for new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) does not include retests (people who have tested positive once and are being tested for a second time).

▪ Miami-Dade County reported 909 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 32 new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. Both numbers are down over Friday’s report of 1,143 and 34, respectively. The county now has 151,214 confirmed cases and 2,238 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 6.76%, a drop from Friday’s 9.53%.

▪ Broward County reported 349 additional confirmed cases of the disease and 20 new deaths. Those numbers represent 125 fewer new cases than reported Friday but three more deaths. The county now has a known total of 68,891 cases and 1,088 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 4.74%, a drop from Friday’s 6.75%.

▪ Palm Beach County saw 230 additional confirmed cases and 11 new deaths. Those numbers represent 41 fewer cases but two more deaths than reported on Friday. The county now has 40,157 confirmed cases and 1,048 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 4.12%, a drop from Friday’s 5.18%.

▪ Monroe County reported seven additional cases of the disease and no new deaths, according to the health department. That’s five more cases than reported Thursday. The Florida Keys now have 1,694 confirmed cases and remains at 14 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 2.8%, a drop from Friday’s 6%.

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 take 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 only providing 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 11:30 a.m. Saturday, there were 4,766 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. That’s a decline of 137 compared to the same time on Friday.

Of those, 902 were in Miami-Dade, 639 in Broward, 276 in Palm Beach and holding for the third day at four in Monroe counties, according to the agency. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach all dropped, reflecting recent trends.

Florida’s current hospitalization data does not always match the hospitalization data reported in Miami-Dade’s “New Normal” dashboard. Officials say this could be for a number of reasons including the frequency of daily updates.

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COVID-19 admitted patients in Miami-Dade at Aug. 22, 2020 on New Normal report. Miami-Dade County

On Saturday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications decreased from 1,103 to 1,038, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard. According to Saturday’s data, 115 people were discharged, fewer than Friday’s 122, and 65 people were admitted, fewer than Friday’s 83.

The state has had a total of 36,329 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard. That’s a statewide increase of 332 compared to Friday.

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 then use the testing data to create a positive rate. The rate helps them determine if a rise in cases is because of an increase in testing, or if it means there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.

On Saturday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 88,491 people tested on Thursday. The positive rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) was 4.89%.

covid percent positive821.png
On Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, the State of Florida Health Department reported that new positives from COVID-19 tests were under 5% on Friday. Florida Department of Health

To date, 4,408,611 people have been tested in Florida. Of the total tested, 597,597 (13.56%) have tested positive.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report misstated the number of deaths reported in Florida on Saturday. There were 106.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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