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Coronavirus Live Updates: Florida Changes COVID-19 Data On The Percent Of Tests Coming Back Positive

Dr. Ala Stanford administers a COVID-19 test in Philadelphia. Stanford and other doctors formed the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to help address the pandemic's heath disparities.
Dr. Ala Stanford administers a COVID-19 test in Philadelphia. Stanford and other doctors formed the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to help address the pandemic's heath disparities.

This post will be updated today, Wednesday, October 28, and through the week with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

WLRN staff continues to add to community resource lists, including this article on where kids and families can get food while schools are closed, and this post about whether and where to get tested for coronavirus.

The dedicated website for the Florida Department of Health, including information about symptoms and numbers of cases, can be found here.

The dedicated website from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found here.

To receive WLRN's coronavirus updates newsletter on Wednesdays and Saturdays, sign up here.

QUICK UPDATES

Florida Changes COVID-19 Data On The Percent Of Tests Coming Back Positive

Updated Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Before the pandemic, so-called “test positivity” was a little-known infectious disease statistic. But over the past few months, scores of concerned people have had their eyes on the data point, which measures the rate at which Florida’s COVID tests come back positive and can help spot upticks in virus transmission.

There are numerous ways to calculate the metric, and Florida has used a relatively rare method of filtering out residents who have already tested positive before. That, in effect, resulted in a lower rate and created a discrepancy with other popular pandemic data trackers, namely the COVID Tracking Project, which also feeds the Johns Hopkins University dashboard. Both trackers have consistently posted a higher rate of positive tests in Florida than the state dashboard and daily reports, leading many to question Florida’s data.

On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health published a backdated data set of “test encounters,” which will provide the total number of people tested per day among those who have never tested positive. The COVID Tracking Project, a nonprofit and volunteer-powered effort, will use that field as opposed to its old calculation of measuring positivity only among people tested for the first time.

Read more at our news partner at the Miami Herald.

—Ben Conarck/The Miami Herald

Statewide Coronavirus Cases Increase By 4,115 Resident Death Toll Reaches 16,571

Updated Wednesday at 11:36 a.m.

Florida surpassed 790,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 4,115 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Florida now has a total of 790,426 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties make up 1,634 of the newly reported cases. Monroe County added 15 new cases overall.

Wednesday’s update also included the announcement of 66 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 16,571.

— By WLRN News

COVID-19 Is Claiming More Lives Than The Official Data Indicates

Updated Wednesday at 8:10 a.m.

Patrick Hidalgo died on the second day of March, in his apartment, at 41 years old, after complaining to his family of waking up in the middle of the night and gasping for breath.

The Miami-Dade county medical examiner attributed the death of this former Obama staffer to heart disease.

His family says it was COVID-19.

Hidalgo isn’t counted as a virus death in Florida, but he illustrates that the pandemic has claimed far more people than the official death count indicates.

— By Mario Ariza / The South Florida Sun Sentinel

Read more from our news partner at The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

COVID-19 Cases Climb By 55% In Palm Beach County Schools, Reflecting 'resurgence'

Updated Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.

A rising number of COVID-19 cases are emerging in Palm Beach County’s public schools, mirroring a new uptick in the spread of the coronavirus in the region.

In the past week, the school district reported 64 new cases of students or employees infected by the coronavirus. That brings the total number of confirmed cases to 181 since campuses reopened last month, a 55% jump.

The figures represent a fraction of the more than 75,000 students and educators on the district’s campuses each day. But the recent spike comes as infections surge in the county and the rest of Florida, raising the possibility of sustained increases.

— By Andrew Marra / The Palm Beach Post

Read more from our news partner at The Palm Beach Post.