JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In data released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health, the state reported another 219 deaths related to COVID-19 -- 15 of those were in three Northeast Florida counties.
Duval County reported eight additional deaths to push its total to 230 since the pandemic began. Clay County added four deaths to reach 69 total and St. Johns County reported three more deaths for a total of 50.
The youngest of those 15 deaths was a 57-year-old Jacksonville man, and the oldest was a 94-year-old Jacksonville woman. The state does not indicate if patients who die related to COVID-19 had any underlying medical conditions.
The 11 Northeast Florida counties News4Jax has been tracking throughout the pandemic have now reported a total of 477 deaths related to the coronavirus.
According to the Associated Press, since Aug. 1, Florida has been averaging 150 coronavirus deaths per day, which would make the disease the state’s No. 1 killer — cancer and heart disease each kill about 125 people per day on average, according to the state health department.
Florida has reported a total of 9,893 deaths of residents and non-residents since the pandemic reached the state.
Coronavirus deaths typically occur weeks or more after the disease is contracted and diagnosed. And the deaths reported in each day’s state data did not necessarily occur in the last 24 hours as the deaths often take many days to be reported to the state.
Overall, the state continued its trend of lower numbers of added cases with 3,838 additional cases reported Tuesday. That follows a two-month low of 2,678 new cases on Monday. (Note: The number of cases reported on Monday is typically lower than other days during the week)
The state has now reported a total of 579,932 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
According to AP, the seven-day average for new cases is now about 3,600, down from 11,000 a month ago.
Also, the number of people being treated in Florida hospitals for COVID-19 has been declining since highs above 9,500 on July 23. The number of patients in the late morning Monday stood at 5,657, according to a tally posted online by the state.
On a call this morning, hospital leaders tell me they remain busy but COVID19 hospitalizations are declining. Daily COVID19 positives are also declining. It’s encouraging news. Stay the course and act responsibly.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) August 18, 2020
Gov. Ron DeSantis focused on the declining cases and hospital numbers during brief remarks in Panama City on Monday.
“I think that they are durable — they are lasting now for many weeks,” he said.
The lower numbers come as Florida voters cast ballots Tuesday in primaries across the state for congressional, legislative and other seats. More than 2.3 million people have opted to vote early, instead of braving lines and the risk of infection.
Election officials have urged voters to avoid the trip to precincts on Election Day by casting ballots early, including mailing in their completed ballots. Officials, however, have assured voters who decide to show up at the polls on Tuesday that doing so will be safe.
It remained to be seen how the pandemic will affect the election on Tuesday and in November, when Florida again plays a crucial role in the presidential race.
It also remained to be seen how lasting the dips new cases will be — considering how unpredictable the outbreak has been since its start five months ago.
Daily COVID-19 cases reported in Florida and Duval County
The statewide positivity rate for testing ticked down slightly to 7.91% on Tuesday.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, breathing trouble, sore throat, muscle pain, and loss of taste or smell. Most people develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia.