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Pinellas County reports largest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases as state moves into next phase of reopening

Margie Manning

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Test sites at the Mahaffey Theater and Tropicana Field are seeing robust testing.

There were 81 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Pinellas County Friday, the largest one-day increase since the pandemic began.

Pinellas County has 1,478 total confirmed cases as of June 5, compared to 1,397 cases on June 4, according to the Florida Department of Health’s dashboard. Total confirmed cases includes 1,427 residents and 51 non-residents. Ninety-five Pinellas residents have died from COVID-19 as of Friday, an increase of four deaths from Thursday. In Pinellas, 70 of the deaths were residents or staff of long-term care facilities.

Some of the biggest increases in Pinellas County occurred in six St. Petersburg ZIP codes, according to research by the St. Pete Catalyst. See the Catalyst interactive map showing cases by ZIP code here.

Increased testing leads to the potential for the number of cases to go up, said a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health-Pinellas County. There are more tests sites in Pinellas now than there were before, and sometimes several test results come in at the same time from laboratories, she said.

Pinellas County isn’t alone. The Tampa Bay Partnership said the eight-county region also had its highest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases.

“This is a concerning trend that should be carefully monitored by our regional leaders as we move forward,” said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. “We need to understand why this is happening, and what can be done to adjust course. If we continue to look at this data on the county-level alone, we could miss some significant warning signs. With our residents crossing county lines every day, we’ve got to maintain a bigger picture of what the virus is doing and where it might be moving next.”

The increase in cases comes on the same day Florida moves into Phase Two of reopening the state’s businesses, many of which were closed or had operations restricted in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase Two, most bars and pubs can open at 50 percent of their indoor capacity and can have outdoor seating with appropriate social distancing. Additionally, movie theaters and other entertainment venues can open at 50 percent of capacity.

Some healthcare officials have cautioned against reopening too quickly, saying more public contact could lead to increased transmission of the disease.

State health officials have said they are watching the “positivity” rate, or the percent of people who test positive after taking a test.

In Pinellas County, the positivity rate hit 4.5 percent on June 4, the most recent date for which information was available, and was the highest rate in two weeks.

Source: Florida Department of Health, Pinellas County June 5 report

The latest Pinellas County reports also show changes in the racial makeup of people who have tested positive, been hospitalized and died from COVID-19. As of June 5, 20 percent of the total cases in Pinellas impact black residents; black residents accounted for just under 10 percent of the county’s population in 2018, according to DataUSA.

Source: Florida Department of Health, Pinellas County June 5 report

Research by the Catalyst shows the biggest increases in Pinellas County cases occurred in three south St. Petersburg ZIP codes with majority black populations: 33705 reported 11 new cases between Thursday and Friday, while 33711 and 33712 reported six new cases each.

Other large increases between Thursday and Friday were in the 33710 ZIP code in west St. Petersburg, where there were nine new cases; 33701 in downtown St. Petersburg with six new cases and 33713 in north-central St. Petersburg with five new cases.

Statewide, there were 61,488 total cases as of Friday morning, an increase of 1,305 cases. Since the pandemic began, 2,660 Floridians have died.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ralph Warmack

    June 5, 2020at3:49 pm

    More testing, more cases. Gee, isn’t that surprising! Perhaps Rick Homans should read this: https://www.amazon.com/Unreported-Truths-about-COVID-19-Lockdowns-ebook/dp/B089P216NP

  2. Avatar

    chris g

    June 6, 2020at1:00 pm

    Can you provide more detail as to the source and method of the data collected for the Covid by Zip Code map you presented?

    • Margie Manning

      Margie Manning

      June 7, 2020at5:10 pm

      Chris, the data for the St. Pete Catalyst ZIP code map comes directly from the Florida Department of Health’s dashboard here: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/
      The St. Pete Catalyst has been tracking the ZIP code information daily since it first became available on April 4. Our map is updated daily, usually around 3 p.m.
      There are other dashboards, including from the Tampa Bay Partnership and from Pinellas County. Those dashboards also use data from the Florida Department of Health.

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