For the first time, Florida has hit the 5,000 mark for residents who have died by COVID-19, with the toll the highest in South Florida’s Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties.
Those three counties have been at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Florida Department of Health on Monday reported 5,072 deaths, up from 4,982 the day before.
Miami-Dade reported 1,309 deaths; Palm Beach, 685, and Broward, 512, the health department data show.
Of the total deaths statewide, 2,400 were from residents and staffers at long-term care facilities.
The health department data analyzed by the Florida Phoenix show that 63 of the 67 counties in Florida have reported at least one COVID-19 death.
Four counties still show no deaths: Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf and Lafayette in north Florida.
The New York Times has been tracking deaths and infections. As of Monday, Florida ranked 8th in the 50 states for number of deaths, but 24th for deaths per 100,000 people. That means Florida’s death rate is far below many other states, including northeastern states such as New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
COVID-19 infections also have risen, with a total of 360,394 Florida cases reported Monday, up from 350,047 reported the day before.
Overall, the surge in infections comes as hundreds of thousands of Florida children and teens are scheduled to go back to school at or around Aug. 10, raising concerns from families and educators.
The Florida Education Association, a statewide teacher’s union, has scheduled a news conference Monday “to discuss litigation regarding the state emergency order to reopen physical public schools to students five days a week in August.” The national education unions will be joining in.
Many districts had planned for alternative instruction options, including in-person classroom learning as well as online learning, and were concerned that some families wouldn’t want students to go back into brick-and-mortar schools with COVID-19 cases surging.