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Current as of Sept. 16, 2020, at 8:00 a.m.
COVID-19 Testing Sites in Florida
  • Drive-Thru Testing sites available are listed by county. Each walk up site can test up to 200 individuals per day. Access the list here.

Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is giving daily updates on Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program: View DEO Dashboard Here.

Florida Department of Health COVID Dashboard: Access dashboard here.

Graphs, Charts, and Real-time Tracking of COVID-19

Data Sources

Data Sources on Social Media

Other Resources

Current Statistics

  • Fatality rate in Florida - 1.9%
  • Covid fatality rate in FL by age group:
  • 15-24 years old - .03%
  • 25-34 years old - .07%
  • 35-44 years old - .21%
  • 45-54 years old - .50%
  • 55-64 years old - 1.6%
  • 65-74 years old - 5.3%
  • 75 and up - 16.9%
  • Seasonal influenza mortality rate in the US (2017 CDC) 18-49 yo - .02%

  • Median age of new Covid cases - 39 years old
  • Emergency department visits w/ COVID-like illness - 17% decrease
  • ICU beds available in Florida - 23%
  • Hospital beds available in Florida - 25%

Vaccine Tracking

Last updated: September 15, 2020 12:33 PM PST

vaccines are in development.

are now in clinical testing.

A nursing home in Melbourne is at the center of a COVID-19 numbers mix-up. 

The Florida State Health Department (DOH) was under the impression there were 32 employees from the facility sick with the corona-virus, where there were only two. No one reached out to the facility to find out more about the outbreak, and FOX 35 News discovered, the number was a mistake.
So how did two become 32? The answer, we are told, is a reporting error that went unnoticed by executives and officials.  

The Life Care Center of Melbourne is part of the larger company Life Care Centers of America. It can house about 100 residents.
In late August, on a Thursday, when the DOH released its updated list of COVID cases in nursing homes, The Life Care Center of Melbourne suddenly showed 32 employees out with the coronavirus. However, the director of the facility says that the number was wrong.

The error was not corrected at the time. In fact, the director was not aware the number 32 was listed for her nursing home -- for employee cases -- until FOX 35 News brought it to her attention on Friday, Sept 11. Then on Saturday, the number was changed.

"You have to have data integrity procedures," said Rep. Randy Fine of Brevard County, "so in this case, I would say the nursing home wasn’t checking what they were submitting, the state failed because they didn’t say, 'Whoa, 32 people, oh my god,' and want to investigate that and the nursing home wasn’t looking at their own numbers every day."

Fine says this mistake highlights a disconnect between the Health Department and nursing homes, and says the lack of attention to detail is concerning because for the two weeks the number was wrong, the county and state numbers were wrong as a result.

Kelly Wilson is an advocate for seniors, she was a member of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs until that board was dissolved. She believes this mistake is probably not an isolated incident and said there needs to be more double-checking when numbers suddenly spike at a facility.

"Moving forward, this isn’t going anywhere, so we have to do better, this isn’t going to disappear," Wilson said.

In a statement from Life Care Centers of America, a company communications representative says he “has passed this information on to our clinical and divisional leadership and they will be reviewing these numbers with the appropriate health department agencies.”

Brevard County’s Health Department says it reports what it is given- data that comes from the ACHA- The Agency for Healthcare Administration.

ACHA sent FOX 35 News this statement after our story aired, 
"This information is self-reported by facilities directly into the Agency’s Emergency Status System. 32 was a reporting error by the facility. The Agency reached out to the provider, and it has since been corrected."

ACHA requires nursing homes to update their numbers in that system every 7 days, so in theory, if an error is entered, it would be discovered and fixed within a week. 

That did not happen in this case.

The number of patients in hospital with Covid in Scotland has been slashed from 262 to just 48 following an overhaul in how they are counted.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that from now on statistics for the number of patients in hospital with Covid will be based only on people who have tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days.

The First Minister added that this would mean a "small number" of Covid patients who take longer to recover - and spend longer in hospital as a result - will be missing from the daily count.

However, she stressed that this "more narrow but more accurate measurement" of hospital patient admissions will mean were are "able to track [the increase] better from here on in".

The changes follow an audit of patient numbers commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Using the new method, the number of people in intensive care with Covid has also reduced - though far less dramatically - from seven to six.

The previous tally, which has been used since the outset of the pandemic, had become less accurate over time because it was including "lots of patients" who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 infection but had since recovered and were in hospital for other, unrelated reasons, said Ms Sturgeon.

It had also skewed Scotland's position compared to other parts of the UK, with the First Minister noting that by the end of August "Scotland officially accounted for almost one third of the hospital patients with Covid in the UK – despite having one twelfth of the UK’s population, and a relatively low incidence of the virus at that stage"...

The issue was highlighted two weeks ago in a blog by Professor Carl Heneghan, the director of the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine at Oxford University, who suggested there was a "potentially substantial" problem with the existing data.

Prof Heneghan noted that, as of August 28, it indicated that there were 255 Covid patients in hospital in Scotland compared to 430 in England.

On a population basis, that meant that the patient rate in Scotland would be nearly nine times higher - 46.8 per million compared to 7.7 per million in England.

As of Monday, there were 782 patients in hospital with Covid in England, 42 in Wales - which continues to count suspected as well as confirmed Covid cases - and 17 in Northern Ireland.

Prof Heneghan triggered a previous investigation into Public Health England's Covid death figures after discovering that PHE was including individuals who had tested positive at any time, as opposed to applying a 28-day cut-off as happens in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As a result, even someone who had tested positive months before, fully recovered, and been hit by a bus could be classified as a 'Covid death'.

Commenting on the revision to Scotland hospital patient numbers, Professor Linda Bauld, an expert in public health at Edinburgh University, said it was "big drop".

Prof Bauld added: "What this tells us is that, overwhelmingly, the people who have been occupying hospital beds have been people who have had Covid in the past and gone back into hospital for other things.

"For example, these could be elderly patients suffering a stroke or a heart attack, or patients who are in and out of hospital with other conditions.

"So what you're really seeing is a snapshot of the population at an earlier stage of the pandemic, when it was mainly older people who were affected..."

It may seem like a distant memory, but just a few months ago, the unemployment rate was historically low. An economic recovery is now in progress, and unemployment has dropped back below 10 percent. But many people are still suffering, and reexamining regulations may be the best way to revive growth and get the economy back to where it should be.

One problem facing our leaders is that some of the tools traditionally available to boost the economy during recessions are in short supply. In a typical recession, the government tends to increase spending or cut taxes. The hope is that these policies will goose the economy and get people back to work sooner. But whatever one thinks about their effectiveness, it’s getting harder and harder to justify them when trillion-dollar deficits are expected to be the new normal.

According to the Wall Street Journal, federal debt is on track to exceed the size of the economy for the first time since World War II next year. While more government spending or tax cuts could boost growth, they probably wouldn’t do so by enough to fully offset the larger deficits they’d create.

Fortunately, there is another arrow in the policymaker’s quiver that often gets overlooked: regulatory reform. It’s less sexy than cutting taxes, or sending constituents a check in the mail and a letter signed by the president, but it may actually produce more bang for the taxpayer buck.

Are regulations bad for the economy, such that removing them will boost economic growth? You might be surprised to learn that until not that long ago, there wasn’t a whole lot of solid empirical evidence on the question either way. Sure, economic theory offered sound reasons to believe that regulations stunt growth by displacing business investments and misallocating resources and talent away from their most productive uses. But few statistical studies had the data to back up that belief, because historically it’s been hard to measure regulation’s economic impact. And in economics, what gets measured tends to be what gets studied.

Thankfully, this state of affairs has begun to change in recent years. Since around the turn of the century, the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have put together indices of regulation that measure its extent across countries. By now, we have several decades of data accumulated, and they are informative.

Recently, Robert Hahn and I reviewed studies published in the peer-reviewed academic literature that rely on these indices to explore the extent to which regulations affect economic growth or productivity (which is a proxy for growth). Virtually every study in our sample pointed in the same direction: Regulation that restricts entry into an industry or imposes anti-competitive restrictions on product or labor markets has a negative impact on growth. This held true across a variety of countries, industries, and time periods, and across studies employing a variety of methodologies and statistical techniques.

Of course, regulations have benefits, too, and very often regulators aren’t even concerned with how their policies affect the level or growth rate of GDP. But in a way, that’s the problem: These unintended consequences go overlooked, both because regulators have other goals in mind when they write laws, and because even in the rare cases where they conduct an economic analysis, that analysis typically focuses on small changes in the short term, rather than the long-term dynamics associated with growth.

As this year's recession begins to fade, regulatory reform is an obvious choice for those who want to juice the economy without blowing a hole in the budget. President Trump has already made cutting red tape a priority of his administration. But according to some measures, there has actually been a modest increase in the overall amount of federal regulation during Trump’s tenure. Trump has effectively managed to turn off the regulatory spigot, such that the flow of new regulations has slowed from a geyser to a drip. But the stock of thousands of preexisting rules still on the books is still a big problem for the economy...

The coronavirus has wrought havoc on the American economy, but some of the sluggish growth we are experiencing is man-made. While the worst of the virus and the economic devastation that has accompanied it are hopefully behind us, that doesn’t mean we should sit idly by. There is much that can still be done without pushing the federal government further into the red. In that sense, regulatory reform is a can’t-lose proposition.

If we don’t analyse statistics for a living, it’s easy to be taken in by misinformation about COVID-19 statistics on social media, especially if we don’t have the right context.

For instance, we may cherry pick statistics supporting our viewpoint and ignore statistics showing we are wrong. We also still need to correctly interpret these statistics.

It’s easy for us to share this misinformation. Many of these statistics are also interrelated, so misunderstandings can quickly multiply.

Here’s how we can avoid five common errors, and impress friends and family by getting the statistics right.

1. It’s the infection rate that’s scary, not the death rate

...We need to look at the infection fatality rate (IFR) — the number of COVID-19 deaths divided by all those infected (a number we can only estimate at this stage, see also point 3 below).
While the jury is still out, COVID-19 has a higher IFR than the flu. Posts implying a low IFR for COVID-19 most certainly underestimate it...

First, if we compare the typical flu IFR of 0.1% with the most optimistic COVID-19 estimate of 0.25%, then COVID-19 remains more than twice as deadly as the flu.

Second, and more importantly, we need to look at the basic reproduction number (R₀) for each virus. This is the number of extra people one infected person is estimated to infect.

Flu’s R₀ is about 1.3. Although COVID-19 estimates vary, its R₀ sits around a median of 2.8. Because of the way infections grow exponentially... the jump from 1.3 to 2.8 means COVID-19 is vastly more infectious than flu.

When you combine all these statistics, you can see the motivation behind our public health measures to “limit the spread”. It’s not only that COVID-19 is so deadly, it’s deadly and highly infectious.

2. Exponential growth and misleading graphs

A simple graph might plot the number of new COVID cases over time. But as new cases might be reported erratically, statisticians are more interested in the rate of growth of total cases over time. The steeper the upwards slope on the graph, the more we should be worried.

For COVID-19, statisticians look to track exponential growth in cases. Put simply, unrestrained COVID cases can lead to a continuously growing number of more cases. This gives us a graph that tracks slowly at the start, but then sharply curves upwards with time...

“Flattening the curve” is another way of saying “slowing the spread”. The epidemic is lengthened, but we reduce the number of severe cases, causing less burden on public health systems.

However, social media posts routinely compare COVID-19 figures with those of other causes of death that show:

3. Not all infections are cases

Then there’s the confusion about COVID-19 infections versus cases. In epidemiological terms, a “case” is a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19, mostly by a positive test result.

But there are many more infections than cases. Some infections don’t show symptoms, some symptoms are so minor people think it’s just a cold, testing is not always available to everyone who needs it, and testing does not pick up all infections.

Infections “cause” cases, testing discovers cases. US President Donald Trump was close to the truth when he said the number of cases in the US was high because of the high rate of testing. But he and others still got it totally wrong.

More testing does not result in more cases, it allows for a more accurate estimate of the true number of cases.

The best strategy, epidemiologically, is not to test less, but to test as widely as possible, minimising the discrepancy between cases and overall infections.

4. We can’t compare deaths with cases from the same date

Estimates vary, but the time between infection and death could be as much as a month. And the variation in time to recovery is even greater. Some people get really ill and take a long time to recover, some show no symptoms.

So deaths recorded on a given date reflect deaths from cases recorded several weeks prior, when the case count may have been less than half the number of current cases.
The rapid case-doubling time and protracted recovery time also create a large discrepancy between counts of active and recovered cases. We’ll only know the true numbers in retrospect.

5. Yes, the data are messy, incomplete and may change

Some social media users get angry when the statistics are adjustedfuelling conspiracy theories.

But few realise how mammoth, chaotic and complex the task is of tracking statistics on a disease like this.

Countries and even states may count cases and deaths differently. It also takes time to gather the data, meaning retrospective adjustments are made.

We’ll only know the true figures for this pandemic in retrospect. Equally so, early models were not necessarily wrong because the modellers were deceitful, but because they had insufficient data to work from.

Welcome to the world of data management, data cleaning and data modelling, which many armchair statisticians don’t always appreciate. Until now.

As the United States struggles to track coronavirus fatalities amid spotty testing, delayed lab results and inconsistent reporting standards, a more insidious problem could thwart the country's quest for an accurate death toll.

Between 20 and 30 percent of death certificates nationwide were wrong before COVID-19, Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, said in an interview with the USA TODAY Network.

“I’m always worried about getting good data. I think this sort of thing can be an issue even in a pandemic,” Anderson said.

Experts said the inaccuracies are part and parcel of a patchwork, state-by-state system of medical examiners, coroners and doctors who have disparate medical backgrounds, and in some cases none at all. 

The problem is likely to get worse as the pandemic inundates overworked and sometimes untrained officials who fill out the forms. 

Accurate death certificates are paramount for health officials trying to determine where to focus resources to fight the spread of the coronavirus, said Umair Shah, executive director of the Public Health Department in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston. 

“That death represents an ecosystem of people,” Shah said.

Inaccurate death reporting is a long-standing problem. 

A review of Missouri hospitals in 2017, for example, found nearly half of death certificates listed an incorrect cause of death. A Vermont study found 51% of death certificates had major errors. Nearly half of the physicians the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed in 2010 admitted that they knowingly reported an inaccurate cause of death.

Death certificates regularly lack enough details to accurately pinpoint the cause of death, Anderson said. 

“For example, cardiac arrest is not an acceptable cause of death, because everybody dies of cardiac arrest,” Anderson said. “That just means your heart stopped.”

Lack of expertise

The widespread inaccuracy of death certificate information stems largely from the varying levels of expertise of those who complete the forms, experts said. 

Physicians, coroners, medical examiners, and in some states, other medical personnel, such as nurse practitioners, can legally sign death certificates, said Sally Aiken, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners and a practicing medical examiner in Spokane County, Washington.

Coroners and medical examiners are responsible for certificates in homicides, accidents and suicides, Aiken said. Physicians fill out the form when natural deaths, such as those caused by COVID-19, occur in a hospital. Medical examiners and coroners do it if the person died at home or in another non-health-care setting.

Medical examiners are generally physicians specializing in forensic pathology who can perform autopsies.

Coroners are not always doctors. In Alabama and Georgia, the only requirement for coroners to be elected is that they be nonfelons of legal age.

Even those with medical expertise regularly get it wrong. In Vermont, there are no coroners. If a death is natural or happens in a hospital or out in the community, physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants fill out death certificates. The state medical examiner’s office, which investigates violent deaths, reviews about 5,000 certificates each year to find and fix errors.

When the state medical examiner’s office compared 601 death certificates completed from July 1, 2015, to Jan. 31, 2016, with medical records, it found 51% had major errors.

Lauri McGovirn, a medical examiner who worked on that review, said some physicians didn’t complete death certificates regularly, so they were unfamiliar with the process. Others viewed it as an administrative chore. 

“It does make you wonder in other states where they don’t have the type of resources or the money to review every death certificate, what their error rate may be,” McGovirn said.

Shortage of workers

In addition to expertise gaps, there’s a severe shortage of medical examiners nationwide. 

In a report to Congress, the Justice Department said as many as 700 more forensic pathologists are needed. The report noted that in addition to staffing, “budgets, resources and supplies are too inconsistent to ensure that death investigations are of the same quality across the United States.” 

Dr. Ray Fernandez has been the chief medical examiner for Nueces County, Texas, for 19 years. He knows what the shortage means — a punishing workload.

Despite hiring another full-time pathologist and two part-time pathologists several years ago, he and his colleagues each perform 200 to 300 autopsies per year, regularly bumping up against the National Association of Medical Examiners’ recommendation of no more than 325 per year. 

The organization has temporarily suspended that caseload limit amid due to COVID-19, but Fernandez said the more cases medical examiners take on, the greater the chance they’ll make mistakes.

“COVID-19,” he said, “is impacting the system at a time when it’s already in a crisis with a shortage of people doing the work.”

To further complicate efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, many medical examiners and coroners refuse to attribute a death to COVID-19 without a positive test before the person died. Some medical examiners are doing post mortem testing if they have the means. But with tests in short supply, that’s not always possible. 

Dr. James Gill, vice president of the National Association of Medical Examiners and the chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut, said he’s sending his staff to funeral homes to swab the noses of the deceased, which are then analyzed by an outside lab. 

The family of the deceased and the first responders who attended to them need the lab results to know whether they should self isolate or get treatment, Gill said. 

“You have to remember, though, that even if we are doing a swab on a dead person, those results may affect the living,” Gill said.

The National Center for Health Statistics, where Anderson works, updated its website on April 1 to clarify that those filling out death certificates should record COVID-19 as the probable cause if testing isn’t possible and if the medical records or circumstances support that...

“The fact is, a lot of these deaths are not going to be autopsied and post mortem testing is not going to be done, so we’re going to have to rely on second-hand accounts and what the symptoms were,” Anderson said. “We may miss some as a result.”