New federal report breaks down COVID-19 deaths by county during summer surge

Brevard, Marion, Lake counties saw highest number of deaths during summer

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A new report released by the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services breaks down COVID-19 deaths by county in Florida, the first time this data has been released to the public since the Florida Department of Health took down the daily COVID-19 dashboard in early June. Since then, the state only releases data weekly that shows deaths in Florida but not broken down by county.

The data is released just days before a hearing is scheduled to take place in the lawsuit filed by State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith and the Florida Center for Government Accountability against the Florida Department of Health and the DeSantis administration, naming Surgeon General Scott Rivkees.

“Why did you suddenly release this data?” Smith said. “That is not a coincidence, they are quietly releasing COVID death data because they have been sued by myself and the Florida Center for Government Accountability.”

The report shows that since June, Polk County had the highest number of deaths, adding 544 deaths from June 5 until Sept. 13. It shows Brevard county not far behind adding 532 deaths and Marion county also added 466 deaths. All three counties with a smaller population than Orange County which added 453 deaths during this summer surge.

  • BREVARD COUNTY: +532 deaths
  • FLAGLER COUNTY: +52 deaths
  • LAKE COUNTY: +289 deaths
  • MARION COUNTY: +466 deaths
  • ORANGE COUNTY: +453 deaths
  • OSCEOLA COUNTY: +176 deaths
  • POLK COUNTY: +544 deaths
  • SEMINOLE COUNTY: +197 deaths
  • SUMTER COUNTY: +105 deaths
  • VOLUSIA COUNTY: +250 deaths

The data all shows the number of positive cases has decreased in every Central Florida county in the last seven days, down 40% in Flagler County. However, the data shows deaths still increasing in every county except for Orange and Polk Counties.

“Seeing these deaths particularly in rural areas is really disturbing. We see how bad things really, really are out there,” Smith said. “We shouldn’t have to sue the DeSantis information to get it but if that’s what we have to do, that’s what we have to do.”

Weesam Khoury, the Communications Director at the Florida Department of Health released the following statement:

“I cannot comment on pending litigation. However, I can provide you with some additional information you should find helpful:

COVID-19 data has been reported to CDC as it has been throughout the entirety of the pandemic. The Department continues to provide, and has provided, CDC county COVID-19 data since March 2020. We do not have control over the display of these data by CDC. If you have questions on their process, please reach out to the CDC.

As a result of data discrepancies that occurred with CDC displayed data last month, FDOH worked quickly and efficiently with CDC to ensure accurate display of data on their website.

We submit retrospective COVID-19 data Monday through Friday, as a result of issues with CDC display of our reported data. This ensures that continuous epidemiological analyses provide the most updated data to the public.

Data is provisional, and as the Department conducts daily data analyses, Florida data displayed on the CDC website may change slightly as data is provided. Having a retrospective file provided daily provides the most accurate and up to date data to the public through the CDC.”


About the Author:

Nadeen Yanes joined News 6 as a general assignment reporter in 2016. She grew up in Leesburg and graduated from the University of Florida. Nadeen has won three Associated Press Awards for her reporting on the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the trial of the Pulse gunman's wife and the capture of an accused cop killer, Markeith Loyd.