Florida’s Department of Health on Saturday confirmed 3,573 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 681,233. That figure represents the most new cases since Sept. 11, when the state reported 3,650 cases. There were 62 Florida resident deaths announced, bringing the resident death toll to 13,287. The number of deaths has fallen to less than 100 in a day for the first time since Sept. 14.
One new non-resident death was announced, bringing the non-resident toll to 163.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida
▪ Miami-Dade County reported 536 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, a rise from Friday’s 385, and 28 new deaths, a decline from Friday’s 50, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The county now has 166,516 confirmed cases and 3,055 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 4.02%.
COVID-19 positivity rate for Sept. 18, 2020, reported on Sept. 19 by Miami-Dade County’s New Normal report.
▪ Broward County reported 233 additional confirmed cases of the disease, up from Friday’s 218, and two new deaths, four fewer than on Friday. The county has a known total of 75,499 cases and 1,319 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 3.06%.
▪ Palm Beach County saw 250 additional confirmed cases, up from 223 on Friday, and five new deaths, compared to 18 on Friday. The county now has 45,156 confirmed cases and 1,277 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 4.07%.
▪ Monroe County confirmed three additional cases, one more than on Friday, and no new deaths. The county’s known total is at 1,804 cases and 22 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases: 2.02%.
COVID-19 could be the leading cause of death in Miami-Dade County by the year’s end
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 providing only 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 10:30 a.m. Saturday, there were 2,276 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This is a significant decrease from early August, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state.
Of Saturday’s hospitalizations, 318 were in Miami-Dade, 230 in Broward, 134 in Palm Beach and two in Monroe counties, according to the agency. The numbers declined in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach and held steady in the Keys compared to Friday afternoon’s patient figures.
COVID admitted patients reported by Miami-Dade County on its New Normal report on Sept. 19, 2020.
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.
On Saturday, Miami-Dade hospitalizations for COVID-19 complications decreased from 422 to 399, according to Miami-Dade County’s “New Normal” dashboard. According to Friday’s data, 62 people were discharged and 46 people were admitted.
The state has had a total of 42,374 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.
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 positivity 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 79,780 people tested on Friday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) was 4.52%.
How hard will COVID-19 hit Miami-Dade this fall? We explored the potential scenarios