One day after it reopened, Florida recorded a record number of new deaths from the new coronavirus on Tuesday, with 113 reported deaths, including 11 in the Tampa Bay area.
The new cases bring the total number of deaths to 1,536. On Tuesday, it was the first time since the epidemic took hold in Florida that the state reported more than 100 deaths in a single day.
The larger Tampa Bay area encompassing the seven counties of Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk combined with 196 deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Overall, the number of confirmed infections in the state increased by 542 on Tuesday, bringing the total to 37,439, including 3,823 in the Tampa Bay area.
The jump in deaths seen on Tuesday is likely due in part to state data monitoring and reporting. Monday morning updates tend to have a smaller increase in deaths than other days of the week, a Tampa Bay Times analysis showed.
The new cases arise as some Floridians begin to take their first steps toward normalcy, after the opening on Monday of restaurants, non-essential stores and iconic beaches in the region.
How fast is the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida increasing?
Morning updates usually show low numbers for the current day.
As coronavirus cases across the state continue to increase by the hundreds, the rate of growth has slowed. The total number of people who tested positive for the virus in Florida also dropped to around 8%.
However, the deaths reported by the virus have not slowed down as in the cases. Many are linked to long-term care facilities: more than a third, or 534, were among residents or staff.
One of the worst epidemics in the state ravaged the Freedom Square campus in Seminole, where 18 residents and one staff member died. This represents over 40% of the deaths in Pinellas County.
More recent local outbreaks in health care facilities have continued to be reported, including two new ones in Hillsborough County.
In Plant City, the community convalescent center has 56 residents and 17 staff with confirmed cases of the virus, according to a state list tracking current cases in long-term care facilities.
Also in Hillsborough County, the Bristol at Tampa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center reports 56 cases among residents and 12 among staff, according to the state list, which includes cases at 454 state facilities.
Florida coronavirus cases by age group
Doctors say seniors are at greater risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19, which makes Florida particularly vulnerable.
The state started publishing the list last week but did not initially include deaths in each facility.
Under increasing pressure to disclose further details – including a public case lawsuit filed by a coalition of news organizations – the state released another list on Friday that tracks virus-related deaths in each facility. The state said the death list will be updated weekly.
Hillsborough County is the leading case in the Tampa Bay area with 1,324 confirmed infections. He recorded 35 deaths, including four new Tuesday.
Pinellas has 788 cases and 45 deaths; Polk has 547 cases and 28 deaths; Pasco has 284 cases and nine deaths; Citrus fruits have 100 cases and 11 deaths; and Hernando has 96 cases and six deaths.
Pasco recorded another death on Tuesday, and the counties of Pinellas, Polk and Manatee each recorded two new deaths.
What are the latest figures on coronaviruses in Tampa Bay?
Editors Langston Taylor and Kathryn Varn contributed to this report.
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