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.
Tuesday, June 30
Florida hits single-week record for new COVID-19 hospitalizations
For the past three weeks, the I-Team has tracked an increase in the number of new hospital admissions due to coronavirus.
Now, Florida has just recorded the highest number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations in a single week ever. For the week of June 24, there were 1,262 new patients admitted due to the virus. That’s higher than the previous peak the week of April 15 when 1,176 coronavirus patients were admitted.
This is concerning because Florida hospitalizations for coronavirus had been on a downward trend up until the beginning of June. But with the new upward trend, health officials and local leaders are now warning everyone to wear a mask in the hopes it could roll back the wave of new hospitalizations.
Tuesday, June 23
New coronavirus hospitalizations still on the rise in Florida
The data shows another rise in new coronavirus hospitalizations across Florida. Its the second straight week of increases in both the total number of new hospitalizations and the weekly average for new COVID-19 hospital patients.
New COVID-19 hospitalizations
As you can see in the chart above, Florida’s coronavirus hospitalizations had fallen to a low of 773 new inpatients by the week of June 3.
But in the past two weeks, total new hospitalizations rose above 1,000 and the seven-day average has also been on the rise.
Some cities and counties recently adopted rules requiring people to wear masks when indoors at local businesses. The I-Team plans to continue tracking these numbers to see if those rules have made a difference with hospitalization rates.
Monday, June 22
Tampa Bay area small businesses received less than 10% of the state's emergency bridge loans
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity gave out small business loans of up to $100,000 in the wake of coronavirus closures.
As ABC Action News reported, the state received more than 38,000 applications for the loan, but only approved less than a thousand businesses before money in the $50 million program ran out.
Now, the I-Team has obtained public records showing the location of each of the businesses that received one of the state loans.
I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern went through the data and found some counties, like Citrus and Polk, had only three businesses each receive emergency bridge loans from the state.
For comparison, the Orlando area had 90 Orange County businesses that received loans. In Miami-Dade County, 87 bridge loans were given to small businesses. That’s almost as many as nine Tampa Bay area counties combined, where businesses received 91 loans — or less than 10 percent of all loans statewide.
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Recipients - Tampa Bay area county breakdown:
- Hillsborough - 33
- Pinellas - 27
- Manatee - 8
- Pasco - 6
- Hernando - 5
- Sarasota - 5
- Citrus - 3
- Polk - 3
- Highlands - 1
While tens of thousands of businesses failed to receive a loan, the I-Team found some owners received multiple loans for different business locations.
The I-Team plans to continue looking into how these tax dollars were spent.
Thursday, June 18
Nearly 39% of business social distancing complaints were in Tampa Bay area
As Tampa Bay area leaders wrestle with whether to require people to wear masks in public, the I-Team took a look at past complaints the state received over a lack of social distancing at local businesses.
The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation received a total of 165 complaints about businesses that shouldn’t have been open or weren’t enforcing social distancing — between March 18 and April 22 – when most of the state was shut down.
The I-Team found 64 of those complaints – or nearly 39% – were in the Tampa Bay area.
These complaints are several months old, but as we continue to see infection rates climb, it could give state officials hints about how people are deciding to social distance – or choosing to ignore that advice.
Tuesday, June 16
Florida sees a spike in coronavirus hospitalizations
The I-Team looked at last week’s numbers and it’s not good news.
There was a spike in new coronavirus hospitalizations across Florida with a total of 1,021 new COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital in the week beginning June 10. That’s an increase to a level this state hasn’t seen since about mid-May.
New COVID-19 Hospitalizations:
It’s troubling because as you can see from the chart above, new admissions had been on the decline for the past several weeks.
And when you looked at the 7-day average, there’s also been an increase.
Last week, an average of 146 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to the hospital daily – also a level Florida hasn’t seen since May.
Remember, what we're seeing now with hospitalizations reflects infections that could have spread weeks ago. That’s because some patients don’t start showing symptoms for up to two weeks. That’s also why health officials stress the importance of continuing social distancing and wearing a mask in public places.
We plan to continue tracking these numbers to see if this trend continues.
Tuesday, June 9
Hospitalizations trending downward
The downward trend continues for coronavirus hospitalizations across Florida, according to the latest numbers for the seven-day average.
Beginning in mid-May, we started to see the number of weekly new hospitalizations decrease, Last week, a total of 773 new patients were admitted for COVID-19 in Florida. That’s down from a high of 1,176 new hospitalizations the week of April 15.
New COVID-19 hospitalizations
And when we looked at the seven-day average, there has also been a decline. Florida started off May with an average of about 150 new coronavirus hospitalizations per day. Last week that number had dropped to about 110.
New covid-19 hospitalizations
Although the numbers are trending in the right direction, health experts have warned we could see an uptick with the recent large gatherings and protests against police brutality. The I-Team plans to keep tracking these numbers to see if the downward trend continues.
Thursday, June 4
Florida isn’t tracking nursing home residents who refuse COVID-19 testing
More than 100,000 residents and staff in Florida long-term care facilities have been tested for the coronavirus, but the state doesn’t know how many residents have refused testing.
- May 19: Hospitalizations for COVID-19-related patients reach plateau
- May 14: Larger drop than expected in March sales tax collections
- May 5: Florida's unemployment numbers showed big increase in mid-April
- May 4: ICU bed demand is growing
- April 28: Unemployment hitting hospitality workers hardest
- April 21: 25% of coronavirus deaths in Florida related to nursing homes
- April 13: Florida's actual death toll could be even higher
- April 9: Racial disparity found in Florida patients hospitalized from COVID-19