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        COVID-19 in Florida: 6,820 new infections, the highest for November

        Cars line up in the afternoon as people wait at the Hard Rock Stadium COVID testing site in Miami Gardens on Thursday, November 5, 2020.
        Cars line up in the afternoon as people wait at the Hard Rock Stadium COVID testing site in Miami Gardens on Thursday, November 5, 2020. (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

        Florida health officials on Sunday reported another 6,820 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number of new infections since mid-August. The high number of new cases comes even after many testing sites in South Florida closed temporarily for the weekend with due to the approach of Tropical Storm Eta.

        Sunday’s count extended Florida’s streak of days with more than 4,000 cases to eight.

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        The state also reported another 22 deaths from the virus, bringing the total fatalities from the virus in Florida to 17,333.

        As the new cases rise, the state posted a testing positivity rate of 6.23%, for new infections only, a drop from 8.27% on Saturday.

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        During November, demand for testing has been climbing, as have new infections. Even with some testing sites closed for the weekend — including those that offer rapid results within 15 minutes — Florida health officials reported results for 116,966 people, the fourth time in 10 days with more than 100,000 results.

        Most new cases reported Sunday were people between the ages of 15 and 34. That age group made up about 40% of the new cases.

        While Sunday’s figures for new cases are far below Florida’s pandemic record totals from the summer, all are indicators of a state again losing its grip on the coronavirus. Public health experts warn that this resurgence will get worse without a renewed focus on social distancing, facial coverings and better hygiene.

        The state’s increased virus transmission is part of a nationwide trend of rising infections. The U.S. reached a one-day record of 126,480 cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

        Since March, Florida has reported positive COVID-19 tests for 843,897 people, along with the virus deaths of 17,333 Floridians and 212 non-residents who died in the state.

        South Florida

        Broward County: 817 additional cases, and three new deaths. The county has a known total of 90,997 cases and 1,548 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The death tally includes 29 non-residents.

        Palm Beach County: 447 additional cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. The county now has 55,449 confirmed cases and 1,633 deaths, including 24 non-residents.

        Miami-Dade County: 1,710 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1 additional death. The county now has 194,356 confirmed cases and 3,683 deaths, including 22 non-residents.

        Testing and positivity rates

        Public health experts say the virus is considered under control when the COVID-19 test positivity rate is under 5%. Florida exceeds 5% by both of its measures of assessing the rate for testing of residents.

        In the first calculation, the state reported a daily positivity rate of 6.23%, down from 8.28% on Saturday, and 6.35% on Friday. This method of calculating positivity counts new infections only, but also counts repeat negative tests, which skews the figure downward.

        According to the state, Sunday’s new case numbers reflect the results of 116,916 COVID-19 tests of Florida residents received from labs in the past day, down from 58,292 results reported Saturday.

        In the second calculation, which includes retests of people who were previously diagnosed, the statewide daily positivity rate is 7.67% based on the latest results for 107,990 Florida residents. That’s down from 9.82% the previous day.

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        Broward County: Daily positivity rate of 6.05% for people with new infections only, down from 8.22% the previous day.

        Palm Beach County: Daily positivity rate of 5.82% for people with new infections only, down from 7.70% the previous day.

        Miami Dade County: Daily positivity rate of 7.18% for people with new infections only, down from 8.42% the previous day.

        Child infections

        With Florida public schools now open for in-person learning, cases are growing among children.

        The latest Florida data concerning COVID-19 infections among children under age 18 show 743 new cases on Sunday from the prior day. Records show an increase of 44,69 new cases over one week.

        Overall, the data show 15,338 cases among children in Miami-Dade County, most in the state, followed by 9,720 cases in Broward. There have been 4,403 confirmed infections in Palm Beach County kids.

        The statewide report also shows 867 children have been treated in hospitals for COVID-19 illness since March; nine have died. The death total has been the same since Sept. 26.

        There have been 69 cases of a rare medical condition called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Twenty-five of these cases associated with the new coronavirus were in Miami-Dade County, 12 were in Broward and eight were in Palm Beach County.

        Hospitalizations

        The number of people hospitalized in Florida for COVID-19 went up in the past day, updated state records show.

        As of 1:30 p.m. Sunday, 2,777 people across the state were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. That’s an increase of 105 patients in about 24 hours and 213 people in 48 hours.

        In South Florida, Broward County reported 302 patients hospitalized, up by 31; Palm Beach County had 176 up by 14; and Miami-Dade had the most in the state with 368 an increase of 19.

        The online report from the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates frequently throughout the day. Hospitalizations hit a peak in late July of about 9,500 patients. Four weeks ago, the number was about 2,100.

        Since the pandemic began, 50,489 residents have been hospitalized for the disease, state health officials say.

        Deaths

        Statewide: The state’s pandemic data report shows a total of 17,121 Floridians dead. In addition, the deaths of 212 non-residents have been attributed to the virus. Most of the 22 fatalities reported Sunday happened in recent weeks but were just confirmed in the past day.

        Florida has the fourth-highest total of COVID-19 deaths among the states, behind California, Texas and New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

        Florida’s death rate since the pandemic began ranks 11th among states, at 79 deaths per 100,000 people, the CDC reports. That’s higher than the national rate of 71 deaths per 100,000.

        Long-term-care facilities: At least 6,873 residents and staff have died at nursing homes and assisted-living centers throughout Florida. That’s another 7 reported deaths in the past day, state data show.

        Miami-Dade County has reported the highest number of deaths at long-term-care facilities, with 851, no increase from the previous day. Palm Beach County is second with 726, no increase from the previous day. Broward has reported 451 deaths, which also is unchanged.

        National and global view

        U.S.: More than 9.9 million people in the country have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 237,288 have died as of 12:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

        World: At least 50 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1.25 million people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins says. The U.S. has had the most COVID-19 cases and deaths of any country. The U.S. has 4.3% of the world’s population, but 19.7% of the world’s cases and 18.96% of the world’s deaths.

        Sun Sentinel health reporter Cindy Goodman can be reached at cgoodman@sunsentinel.com and on Twitter @cindykgoodman.

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