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South Florida's coronavirus deaths rose by 3,328 over three months

Florida Health Department had stopped giving fatality totals in reports on June 4
Posted at 12:37 AM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 12:18:08-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — South Florida's death toll grew by 3,328, including 631 in Palm Beach County over more than three months before the Delta variant became a more contagious strain and the last time the Florida Health Department released fatalities by county.

On June 4, the department switched to weekly reports instead of daily totals when the pandemic had been controlled. Those new reports included counties' cases and vaccine data but not deaths.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had said it was possible to release this information. The state has been reporting data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a daily basis, including deaths and even for the county.

County fatalities had been available but they were by where the person died, including the hospital. But Dr. Jason Salemi, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida, told WPTV-TV on Tuesday he discovered numbers were being updated on the latest White House COVID-19 response report.

Salemi is now including the data on his website, which includes a map of Florida with the county breakdowns.

According to the data, South Florida's death toll rose from 13,819 on June 4 to 17,147 Tuesday. That represents a 24.1% increase.

The overall state's rate was actually much higher, going up 33.2% from 36,973 to 49,254. Florida's deaths are fourth behind California at 66,813, Texas at 59,167 and New York at 54,693, according to state websites. Florida is the third most populous state behind California and Texas but ahead of New York.

South Florida, which represents 30% of the state's population, went from 37.4% of the total state's deaths to 35.0%.

The 3,328 increase since June 4 in South Florida represents 27.1% of the state's rise.

Here are the deaths totals by the South Florida counties:

Palm Beach County: 2,883 then, 3,514 now (21.9% increase)

Martin: 335 then, 426 now (27.2% increase)

St. Lucie: 657 then, 843 now (28.3% increase)

Indian River: 306 then, 446 now (45.8% increase)

Okeechobee: 87 then, 98 now (13.8% increase)

Broward: 3,079 then, 4,090 now (32.8% increase)

Miami-Dade: 6,472 then, 7,730 now (19.4% increase)

In the past week, the state's death toll increased by 2,448, including 355 that had occurred during the week. At the time, the death toll was 48,772. When, the state switched to daily reports the week's weekly death increase was only 252.

The most deaths occurred on Aug. 20: 347. In June 4, it was down to 54.

The CDC is now only reflecting the date of occurrence for cases and deaths rather than when reported to the Florida Department of Health. It can take several days or even weeks for the state to receive a report of a death. The CDC twice a week has been revising the previous cumulative totals as more data are reported.

On Monday, the CDC reported 49,251 cumulative deaths with a four-day increase of 978.

Cases have been subsiding in the state. On Tuesday, the CDC reported 11,300 cases for a total of 3,453,390, which is third behind California with 4,372,806 and Texas with 3,839,170.

One week ago, there were 16,362 cases.

In the state report Friday, the one-week increase was 100,249 for a total of 3,409,165. The weekly record is 27,784 reported on Aug. 24. And the weekly increase record was 152,760 on Aug. 27. The one-week increase on June 4 was 29,148.

In South Florida, cases represent 35.0% of the state's total based on last week's weekly report with 1,069,110 infections in the region. The one week's worth of new cases, 25,479, was 25.5% of the state total.

In the past seven days, there have been 554,921 tests (79,264 daily). On Aug. 30, tests reached a record 159,819. Until the spike, the most was 149,044 on Jan. 5.

The hospitalizations, meanwhile, have dropped from a high of 17,295 on Aug. 19 to 10,979 on Tuesday, according to the Florida Hospitalization Association in data obtained by the CDC. Until recently, the record was 10,179 on July 23, 2020.

And the vaccination rate has increased to 77.1% of the adult population with at least one dose and 75.3% among those eligible, which is 12 and older. On June 4, the one-shot rate for adults was 59.2% and fully was 48.9%. The state began administering vaccines for children 16 and 17 in April and those 12-15 in May. The first vaccines were administered in the state in December medical personnel and those in long-term facilities, then a few weeks later for those 65 and older.