Florida’s Department of Health on Saturday confirmed 4,044 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 752,481. Also, 87 resident deaths were announced, seven fewer than announced on Friday, bringing the resident death toll to 15,917.

No new non-resident deaths were announced, leaving the non-resident toll at 200.

Saturday is the third day this week that Florida reported more than 3,000 cases. It is also the highest single-day count reported since Aug. 22, when 4,311 cases were added, although there were two exceptions.

On Oct. 11, more than 5,000 cases were added because duplicated test results clogged up Florida’s data reporting system for a day and last Saturday’s numbers were folded into the total. There was also a “data dump” on Sept. 1 when 7,569 cases were reported. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said at the time of that “data dump” that Quest Diagnostics suddenly unloaded 80,000 test results, some of which were as old as April.

According to Saturday’s dashboard, testing statewide declined by 940 people compared to Friday’s figures and the daily positivity rate increased from 4.36% to 5.19%.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida

Note: The Florida Department of Health says that each county’s percent positivity for new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) does not include retests (people who have tested positive once and are being tested for a second time).

▪ Miami-Dade County reported 554 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 — an increase of 24 compared to Friday —and 17 new deaths, two fewer than reported on Friday, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The county now has 177,893 confirmed cases and 3,537 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 4.11% to 4.76%.

▪ Broward County reported 377 additional confirmed cases of the disease, a rise of 46 compared to Friday, and six new deaths, two fewer than reported Friday. The county has a known total of 80,820 cases and 1,506 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 3.96% to 4.85%.

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▪ Palm Beach County saw 196 additional confirmed cases, 18 more than reported Friday, and nine new deaths, three more than Friday. The county now has 48,870 confirmed cases and 1,487 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 3.37% to 3.82%

▪ Monroe County confirmed 16 additional cases, four fewer than on Friday, and one new death. The county has a known total of 2,038 cases and 25 deaths. Percent positivity for new cases increased from 7.81% to 10.88%.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida

One of the tools that officials rely on to determine whether the coronavirus situation is improving in the state is hospitalization data. Unlike testing, which might be limited or take days to report results, hospitalizations can help give officials a real-time snapshot of how many people are severely ill with COVID-19.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reports the number of patients hospitalized statewide with a “primary diagnosis of COVID.” The data, which is updated at least every hour, does not distinguish between the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units and those in acute-care beds, which require less attention from nurses.

Previously, the state was providing only the total number of hospitalizations in its statewide and county-level data. Miami-Dade was an exception, with hospitals self-reporting a number of key metrics, including hospitalizations, to the county, which has made this data public for several months.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, there were 2,037 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This is a significant decrease from early August, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state.

Of Saturday’s hospitalizations, 256 were in Miami-Dade, 178 in Broward, 101 in Palm Beach and eight in Monroe counties, a slight rise in all of the counties except in Miami-Dade, according to the agency.

Florida’s current hospitalization data does not always match the hospitalization data reported in Miami-Dade’s “New Normal” dashboard. Officials say this could be for a number of reasons, including the frequency of daily updates.

The state has 46,976 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, a rise from 46,862 on Friday, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

COVID-19 Testing in Florida

Testing in Florida has seen steady growth since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Testing, like hospitalizations, helps officials determine the virus’ progress and plays a role in deciding whether it is safe to lift stay-at-home orders and loosen restrictions.

Epidemiologists then use the testing data to create a positivity rate. The rate helps them determine if a rise in cases is because of an increase in testing or if it means there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.

On Saturday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 77,517 people tested on Friday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) increased from 4.36% to 5.19%.

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