COVID-19 stats slow reopening in South Florida

The rate of positive test results for COVID-19 is down statewide, but up in South Florida, according to state figures for last week.

The worst South Florida results were in Palm Beach County, which saw the positive percentage rise from 6.22 to 8.9 percent. Miami-Dade went from 5.03 percent to 6.14 percent. Broward went from 2.97 percent to 4.8 percent. All three counties have been trending up for the past three weeks amid an economic reopening.

Miami will not move into the next phase of reopening because of concerns about rising COVID-19 cases, Mayor Francis Suarez announced during a Monday news conference, according to ABC News.

A report in Tuesday’s Palm Beach Post indicated Florida’s surgeon general is concerned about the metrics in Palm Beach County, which may be why the county hasn’t received state permission to move to the next step of business reopening.

Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday morning confirmed 2,783 additional cases of COVID-19, setting another daily total record high since the start of the pandemic, the Miami Herald reported.

The state overall broke a two-week rising trend with a drop from 4.67 percent positive to 4.24 percent. After drifting downwards for three weeks, emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms statewide were up from 2,500 visits a week to 2,700.

ER figures were flat in Broward at 177 and 174, but the number of visits in Miami-Dade ERs was up from 428 to 571. Palm Beach County had a drop from 302 to 268. Hospital visits are a lagging indicator of infections, since the illness can take days to manifest after infection.

The 64 counties that moved into the second phase of reopening on June 5 saw a near 42 percent increase in new cases the week before that could not be explained by increased testing alone, according to a Miami Herald analysis of the Florida health department’s case data. “We are seeing the very leading indicators of a resurgence in the number of cases, and now is the time to take action,” said Eric Toner, a pandemic preparedness expert with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who reviewed the Herald analysis.

CDC officials warned last week that more strict measures may need to be re-enacted if figures rise after states start to reopen.


Kevin Gale
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