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Breaking down the data on COVID-19: April 2020

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Posted at 8:40 PM, Apr 28, 2020

As new data related to the coronavirus pandemic gets released to the public, the I-Team is committed to breaking down its significance and what each update means. To help you stay on top of it all, we are compiling all the key breakdowns you need to know.


Thursday, April 30

Finally, some good news?

6 PM

New numbers today could be cause for some cautious optimism when it comes to coronavirus hospitalizations in Florida.

If you're looking at the reports the Department of Health puts out every day, it can be difficult to tell whether the situation is getting better or worse. That's why the I-Team has been tracking the weekly trends since March 20.

Each week, we’ve seen the number of new hospitalizations and the 7-day average continue to rise – until this past week.

In the past week, there were 949 new hospitalizations – down from a high of 1,182 the prior week. The 7-day average also declined for the first time last week.

WEEK
NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS
7-DAY AVERAGE
3/20-3/26

313

45

3/27-4/2

757

108

4/3-4/9

1,131

162

4/10-4/16

1,160

166

4/17-4/23

1,182

169

4/24-4/30

949

136

Although these numbers are trending in the right direction and seem to suggest social distancing is working, it's too early to draw any long-term conclusions.

The I-Team plans to continue tracking these numbers to see if this downward trend continues.


Tuesday, April 28

New numbers show what we suspected: Unemployment hitting hospitality workers hardest

6 PM

More than 100,000 people in Tampa Bay area have filed for unemployment as of April 4, according to a county breakdown of unemployment numbers.

We know those numbers are artificially low because so many people have had problems filing for unemployment through the state’s broken website, but these are the most detailed breakdown of the latest federal numbers available:

Unemployment filings by county through April 4:

  • 29,903 Hillsborough
  • 24,160 Pinellas
  • 13,014 Polk
  • 10,736 Pasco
  • 9,281 Sarasota
  • 7,540 Manatee
  • 3,311 Hernando
  • 2,231 Citrus

Across the state and in our area, hotel and food service workers were the largest group to file for unemployment as of April 4.

More than 115,000 hospitality workers across Florida filed for unemployment as of earlier this month. About 20 percent of those workers – or 24,703 – live in Tampa Bay area counties.
Also, more than 9,000 local health care workers reported they were out of a job – despite the ongoing pandemic.

According to the state, more than 800,000 Floridians have filed for unemployment as of April 27. But so far, less than half of those who have filed have received any sort of benefits check.

The I-Team is continuing to push for answers on why it’s taking so long and when people can expect their money.


Monday, April 27

State finally releases COVID-19 breakdown for nursing homes

7 PM

There have been reports of COVID-19 at 66 long-term care facilities in the Tampa Bay area.

But today is the first time Florida public health officials finally told the public the number of cases at each facility and provided a breakdown of patients and staff.

Here’s the breakdown of COVID-19 cases at local long-term care facilities:

  • 330 residents
  • 194 staff
  • 11 facilities with at least 10 cases

Sadly, ABC Action News learned of 7 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in local nursing home residents over the weekend.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 3 Seminole Pavilion Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at Freedom Square, Seminole
  • 3 St. Mark Village, Palm Harbor
  • 1 Royal Oak Nursing Center, Dade city

An eighth resident of Seminole Pavilion also died this weekend after showing symptoms associated with COVID-19, according to reports from the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office.

Seminole Pavilion has been one of the hardest hit locally, reporting 42 residents and 31 staff testing positive so far.

These death reports come from local records. Unfortunately, the state still isn’t telling the public the number of deaths at individual nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


Tuesday, April 21

25 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Florida related to nursing homes

5 PM

New numbers out tonight show about 25 percent of all coronavirus deaths reported in Florida are related to long-term care facilities.

Sarasota and Manatee are among the only five counties in the state now reporting double-digit death figures at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The counties reporting the highest number of deaths at long-term care facilities are Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Florida counties with highest number of long-term care facility deaths
Dade: 45
Broward: 31
Palm Beach: 27
Manatee: 14
Sarasota: 13

Two Tampa Bay counties are also among the top in the state for long-term facilities cases. Manatee reported 132 cases and Pinellas reported 128. Other counties with at least 100 cases at long-term care facilities include Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Clay.

Counties with most long-term facility cases
Dade: 444
Broward: 241
Palm Beach: 164
Manatee: 132
Pinellas: 128
Clay: 117

After public pressure, the Florida Department of Health recently started releasing the names of the more than 300 facilities so far with confirmed COVID-19 cases. But we still don’t know how many cases are in each facility or the breakdown of how many residents and staff have tested positive.


Thursday, April 16

New hospitalizations trending up

7 PM

If you’re looking at the numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations every day, it can be difficult to tell whether the situation is getting better or worse, so the I-Team took a look how things are going week-by-week.

We’ve been tracking new hospitalizations in Florida each week since March 20. In that first seven-day period, the state reported 313 new hospitalizations. That number has more than tripled and the state reported 1,160 new hospitalizations for the week of April 10-16.

The weekly average of new hospitalizations has also increased over the past four weeks – from 45 to 166.

Tracking week-over-week, it doesn’t appear the numbers are growing as quickly as they did in the first two weeks, but with only four weeks of data and the state now expected to hit its peak in early May, it may be too early to draw any major conclusions.

7-day period
New FL hospitalizations
Average new FL hospitalizations over 7 days
3/20-3/26

313

45

3/27-4/2

757

108

4/3-4/9

1,131

162

4/10-4/16

1,160

166


Monday, April 13

Florida's actual death toll could be even higher

6 PM

Hundreds of people across Florida have died from COVID-19, but the death toll could be even higher because seasonal residents aren’t being counted in the state’s total.

It’s an important data story first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

As of tonight:

  • 499 Florida residents have reportedly died of coronavirus.
  • But the state does not release the number of seasonal or part-time residents who have died in Florida.
  • The latest data shows the state reported 625 positive COVID-19 cases in non-residents.
  • It’s unknown if any of those non-residents have died because the state isn’t reporting it.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees was asked whether the state was failing to release the number of non-residents who have died in Florida. The state’s top doctor didn’t answer that question directly. Instead, he said the CDC death counts are based on where a person lives full-time – regardless of where that person died.

It’s important to remember that even though the CDC counts deaths by a person’s state of residency, there is nothing that prevents Florida officials from sharing with the public the total number of people who have died of coronavirus in this state. So far, that hasn’t happened.


Thursday, April 9

Racial disparity found in Florida patients hospitalized from COVID-19

5 PM

Early reports across the U.S. reveal black and African American COVID-19 patients being hospitalized at alarmingly high rates and so far, Florida’s reported data shows the state is following that same trend.

As of Thursday, 5 p.m.:

  • 19% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Florida are black
  • But Florida’s statewide population is only 16% black or African American
  • By comparison, 39% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are white
  • Meanwhile, 75% of Florida’s population is white.

It’s important to note that the state only recently started tracking this information, so at least 18 percent of the hospitalized patients are currently classified as “other” or “unknown race.” But the data is being updated daily, so hopefully more of the unknowns will be revealed in the future.

So, what’s the reason for the racial disparity?

Dr. Anthony Fauci has said it may be explained by the fact that black Americans already face a higher risk and rates of pre-existing conditions and some communities may have less access to health care in general.


Tuesday, April 7

Less deaths but peak coming sooner

7 PM

Last week, the I-Team told you about a forecasting model from researchers at the University of Washington.

At that time, the model showed Florida was expected to hit its peak with COVID-19 deaths on May 2.

RECOMMENDED: COVID-19 model estimates Florida to have over 7K deaths

But now, those predictions have significantly changed.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the model shows Florida could hit its peak by April 21 with up to 242 deaths per day. That’s an increase from 170 deaths per day at the peak in last week’s model.

According to the prediction model for New York, the state will hit its peak in a couple of days with as many as 878 deaths per day.

But there are also early signs in these prediction models that social distancing policies may be working.

Updated models show the number of predicted deaths nationwide by early August is now less than 82,000. That’s lower than a week ago when researchers expected about 93,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 by that time.

These models are constantly being updated with new information and data.

You can see the predictions for Florida here: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/florida


Monday, April 6

A headcount of Tampa Bay area ICU beds

6:45 PM

The U.S. has hit an alarming milestone: More than 10,000 dead of COVID-19 in just the past couple months.

President Trump has called this a war and to put this in terms of casualties – the death toll is now higher than the nearly 7,000 U.S. military members killed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since 2001.

As those hospitalized with the virus fight for their lives, the I-Team is looking at the number of available ICU beds in our area.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration data shows:

  • 40% of adult ICU beds are available in the Tampa Bay area
  • 14 hospitals in our region have less than 30% ICU beds available
  • Sarasota Memorial Hospital, which is treating dozens of COVID-19 patients, has about 20% ICU beds available

Across Florida, more than 250 have died from the virus as of Monday night.

Medical experts say that number is likely an undercount — because the CDC only officially counts deaths with a positive test.

The latest data compiled by Erin Smith. Story developing, check back with ABC Action News I-Team for the latest.