ORLANDO, Fla. – The statewide total of COVID-19 patients continues to climb across Florida Tuesday including the 10th coronavirus fatality in Orange County and the first in Brevard County.
By Tuesday evening when the latest data was released from the Florida Department of Health was released Florida cases had reached 14,747. That number includes 296 deaths and 1,893 hospitalizations.
Compared to the last time an update was provided at 11 a.m. Tuesday, there are 242 more cases and 13 more deaths.
Florida has now been under a stay-at-home order for days and because of that, leading researchers are now predicting that the Sunshine State could see its peak in cases around April 21 with 239 deaths per day. Earlier, the peak was predicted for the beginning of May.
One of the lead researchers producing those models explained the projections changed because of new data from Italy and Spain that showed that the virus peak is going faster and coming earlier before declining.
Every county in Central Florida now has at least two dozen cases with Orange County taking the lead at 768. On Tuesday, Brevard County became the last in the region to report its first deaths.
According to Brevard County Commission Chair Bryan Lober, both COVID-19 victims were over 75 years old. One died Monday afternoon and the other was also battling a chronic disease along with the respiratory illness.
Here’s how the numbers break down locally:
Statewide, Miami-Dade County remains the worst for infections with surpassing 5,100 patients, 320 hospitalizations and 47 deaths. Broward is next with 2,230 cases, 300 hospitalizations and 54 deaths. Palm Beach comes in third with 1,159 patients, 203 hospitalizations and 64 deaths followed by Orange County in fourth.
All four Florida counties reported new fatalities Tuesday evening.
On Monday, Orange County Health services director Dr. Yolanda Martinez noted that there were half as many cases in the Orlando-area a week prior.
“In a week we doubled the number of positive cases and in a week doubled the number of deaths,” she said.
Martinez also indicated that could be the trend for the coming week.
While deaths in the U.S. surpassed 12,280 Tuesday, with about 387,000 confirmed infections across the country, authorities in several hot spots including New York were hoping that plateaus in deaths and new hospitalizations meant that the coronavirus pandemic was turning a corner.
However, the latest statistical models show a glimmer of hope, forecasting fewer deaths in the U.S. before August but the only problem with this bit of relatively good news is it’s almost certainly wrong and subject to change, again.
On the treatment front, President Donald Trump and his administration are promoting an anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, not officially approved for fighting the new coronavirus, even though scientists say more testing is needed before it’s proven safe and effective against COVID-19.
During a news briefing Tuesday with he Florida governor, doctors in Broward county explained how they are already using hydroxychloroquine and other medications to treat severe cases of the illness.
“I think we need to have every option, some of these patients are very, very sick,” Broward Health critical care Dr. Sunil Kumar said. “We are learning every day something new.”