SEBRING — A slightly smaller single-day increase in COVID-19 infections on Monday, just below 9,000, jumped up over 9,000 again on Tuesday.
Florida saw 9,243 new infections statewide Tuesday, according to the testing numbers. Highlands County now has 1,103 cases, with 54 in the hospital and 24 deaths, two more than Monday's report showed.
Florida now has 441,977 cases statewide, with 436,867 Florida residents and 5,110 non-Florida residents infected.
Highlands’ increase of 34 new cases was just 6.8% of the 497 people tested, which was up from the 4.8% positivity rate reported the previous day, which is now the only day in two weeks when the positivity rate dropped below the 5% rate recommended by the World Health Organization for countries to reopen events, businesses and schools.
However, 6.8% is closer than the county has been in all that time, with average high percentages at 11.3% and the highest percentage at 19.9% on July 20, during a slow day of testing.
The median age for new cases in Florida dropped to 42; in Highlands County, it came up from 37 to 43.
While new cases have been highest in the 25-34 year range, and have been spread mostly throughout age groups from 15 to 64, the highest hospitalization rates have been among those ages 55 to 85 and older and deaths have been highest among those ages 65 and older.
Highlands County has seen a spike of new cases in the 25-34 year age range and the 55-64 year range, with similar spikes in hospitalizations among those 55-64 and 75-84, with deaths highest among those 75-84.
The county has seen eight new cases among those 5-24 years old.
Analysis of the numbers suggests that the younger the median age, the less likely the state and county are to see new deaths.
Meanwhile, with Florida school districts making plans to restart school next month, the state has seen 1,295 new cases among those 15-24 years old, 300 new cases among those 5-14 years old and 152 new cases among children 4 and younger — a total of 18% of the new cases.
The Florida Department of Health's Pediatric Report, which is released weekly, showed an increase from 23,170 to 31,150 cases for the week ending July 24 — an increase of 7,980 cases, while hospitalizations went from 246 to 303.
Florida's new total of 441,977 means the state has nearly added 300,000 cases since the 158,997 confirmed cases reported on July 1, and will likely exceed 450,000 cases by the end of today.
The state saw a record 186 resident deaths, bringing the total up from 5,931 to 6,117. Non-resident deaths climbed five to 123, with 24,917 people hospitalized, according to the Florida Department of Health. The single-day increase of 585 hospitalizations is also a record for the state.
In Highlands County, hospitalizations came back up slightly with 126 residents and one non-resident under care. Highlands County's hospitalization rate of 11.5% is approximately double the state average of 5.6%.
The county death toll came up to 24, approximately 2% of all county cases.
In surrounding counties, DeSoto County saw an increase of 22 cases, bringing its total to 1,227. The positivity rate was 22.4% out of the most recent 98 tests, making now the third time in two weeks that DeSoto’s daily rate has been over 20%.
Glades County had four new cases out of nine tested, for a positivity rate of 44.4%. The county now has 389 total cases, all county residents.
Hardee County has seen six new cases, with a new total of 805 and a positivity rate of 8.3% out of the most recent 192 tested. It was the first time in just over a week that Hardee’s positivity rate dropped to below 10%.
Okeechobee County saw 21 new cases, making for 853 total cases, with four out-of-county residents, and a positivity rate of 17.4% out of 121 tests.
Polk County gained another 176 new cases, which was the first time in a week for less than 200 new cases.
The county of 650,000-700,000 people now has 11,893 cases, with 236 deaths and 1,011 hospitalizations.
Outside the Heartland region, Miami-Dade County saw an increase of 3,030 cases — the sixth time in two weeks for daily increases above 3,000 — with a positivity rate of 17.5% out of more than 17,000 tests.
For the past two weeks, Miami-Dade has seen a positivity rate between 16.7 and 22.8% each day.
Broward County saw 898 new cases, which was the first time since July 6 that it hasn’t had a four-digit increase, while Palm Beach County had an increase of 620, Orange County added 432 cases and Marion added 343.
Other three digit increases between 100-300 cases included Alachua, Bay, Collier, Duval, Lee, Leon, Manatee, Osceola, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie and Volusia.
Together, they account for 7,596 of Florida’s total increase.
Nationally, the count has climbed to 4,309,230, with 148,298 deaths, according to COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
On the global front, Johns Hopkins reports, there have been 16.54 million cases and the death toll has passed 650,000, with the last count at 655,300.