In one month’s time: FL is on the cusp of 5,000 COVID-19 infections; death toll at 60

test kits. Credit: CDC website

In a rapid escalation of infections, Florida is on the cusp of 5,000 COVID-19 cases, precisely 4,950 as of Sunday evening.

The Florida Department of Health also reported four more deaths, in Collier, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Santa Rosa counties, putting the total death toll at 60.

This Sunday marks a full month of the coronavirus in Florida, an event that changed the way we live indefinitely.

On Sunday March 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced two coronavirus cases in Florida. On Sunday, March 29, the figure is just below 5,000 infections. On March 1, there were no deaths. On March 29, the total is 60.

The infections have been climbing in part to more testing, and the Florida Phoenix wrote Saturday that the state would hit the 5,000 mark in a matter of days because of the continued increases.

Between Sunday morning and Sunday evening, 704 more infections were reported.

Miami-Dade County has nearly 1,500 infections, and Broward has more than 1,000. Palm Beach has 383. Those three counties have represented the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Florida.

Orange County has 268 infections; Hillsborough, 225.

Four other counties now have more than 100 infections: Lee, Duval, Pinellas and Collier.

While big counties have rising infections, small rural counties that had been listed as zero-infection counties are now slipping off the list, the health department data shows.

As of Sunday evening, the department reported infections in 52 counties, plus an “unknown” category with one infection. More than 75 percent counties now have at least one infection.

The four deaths are:

A 61-year-old male in Collier County; a 76-year-old woman in Palm Beach County; A 58-year-old man in Pinellas County, and an 81-year-old woman in Santa Rosa County.

The average age of the death cases is 75; Overall, 68 percent of deaths are male.

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.