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Florida breaks 600,000 COVID-19 cases, but infections again fall

51 additional deaths reported statewide, including death of 20-year-old woman in St. Johns County

FILE - A health care worker gives a thumbs up to a driver as he stops his car, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, at a COVID-19 testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
FILE - A health care worker gives a thumbs up to a driver as he stops his car, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, at a COVID-19 testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida broke the 600,000 mark for confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday, but reported one of its lowest daily totals in two months, continuing a downward trend that began five weeks ago.

Florida reported 2,974 new cases on Sunday, only the second time since June 22 that fewer than 3,000 new cases have been tallied in a day. The other time was Monday, when 2,678 cases were reported. Sundays and Mondays often have a low number of reports as not all hospitals report on the weekend.

The daily total peaked July 15 when more than 15,000 cases were reported, but has been declining since.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also been declining. Late Sunday morning, 4,578 patients were being treated for the disease in Florida hospitals compared to Saturday’s 4,773. It is a drop of almost 800 since Thursday. Hospitalizations peaked at above 9,500 on July 23. The state’s positivity rate on tests over the past week has been just over 10%.

Overall, the state has now reported 600,571 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The state reported 51 deaths Sunday, bringing the total to 10,462. One additional death was reported Sunday in Northeast Florida: the death of a 20-year-old woman in St. Johns County.

Over the past week, the state has reported an average death rate of 125 per day and an average of 151 deaths per day during August. Only Texas, at 203 deaths, has a higher daily average over the past week. It has about 50% more residents.

Deaths from COVID-19 usually occur two weeks or more after diagnosis, so epidemiologists have said Florida’s fatality rate should shrink in the coming weeks if confirmed infections continue to shrink.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Jacksonville added 104 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing Duval County’s total to 25,558 cases with 235 deaths. Duval County’s rate of positive tests ticked up to 4.49% for Saturday.

St. Johns County added 16 more cases on Sunday, bringing its total to 4,153 cases with 52 deaths. St. Johns County’s rate of positive tests slightly decreased to 3.54% for Saturday.

Florida’s rate of positive COVID-19 tests was 5.52% for Saturday — the fourth day in a row it was below 7%. In data collected for Friday, the rate was 4.89%, marking the first time since June 13 that Florida’s rate of positive COVID-19 tests dropped below 5%.

Daily COVID-19 cases reported in Florida and Duval County

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.