MIAMI — Florida’s Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed 13,990 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to a new milestone: 1,517,472. Also, 169 new resident deaths were announced, bringing the state’s resident death toll from the novel coronavirus to 23,396.

Five new nonresident deaths were also announced, bringing the nonresident toll to 363. The Sunshine State has the fourth-highest death toll in the country, after New York, Texas and California, according to The New York Times database of U.S. cases.

According to the state’s Wednesday COVID-19 vaccine report, 707,478 people have been vaccinated in Florida — with 61,151 people completing the series of two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The figures represent a rise of 59,125 people getting vaccinated and 7,891 more people completing both doses compared to Tuesday’s report.

Miami-Dade and Broward are administering the vaccines to seniors 65 and older at several hospitals, parks and other sites.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Florida:

—Miami-Dade County reported 2,568 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 20 new deaths, according to Florida’s Department of Health. The county has now had 334,217 confirmed cases and 4,472 deaths. The percent positivity for new cases decreased from 9.41% to 9.22%.

—Broward County reported 1,070 additional confirmed cases and five new deaths. The county’s known total is now at 153,715 cases and 1,943 deaths. The percent positivity for new cases increased from 8.87% to 9.22%.

—Palm Beach County saw 699 additional confirmed cases and eight new deaths. The county has 93,994 confirmed cases and 1,983 deaths. The percent positivity for new cases decreased from 10.22% to 9.66%.

—Monroe County confirmed 50 additional cases and no new deaths. The county has a known total of 4,787 cases and 36 deaths. The percent positivity for new cases increased from 3.92% to 10.14%.

One of the tools that officials rely on to determine whether the coronavirus situation is improving in the state is hospitalization data. Unlike testing, which might be limited or takes days to report results, hospitalizations can help give officials a real-time snapshot of how many people are severely ill with COVID-19.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reports the number of patients hospitalized statewide with a “primary diagnosis of COVID.” The data, which is updated at least every hour, does not distinguish between the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units and those in acute-care beds, which require less attention from nurses.

As of 3 p.m. EST Wednesday, there were 7,582 COVID-19 patients admitted into hospitals throughout the state, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dashboard. This number is at August levels, when more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals throughout the state.

Of Wednesday’s hospitalizations, 1,087 were in Miami-Dade, 630 in Broward, 434 in Palm Beach and three in Monroe, according to the agency.

The state has had a total of 66,634 Florida residents hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

Testing in Florida has seen steady growth since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Testing, like hospitalizations, helps officials determine the virus’s progress and plays a role in deciding whether it is safe to lift stay-at-home orders and loosen restrictions.

Epidemiologists use the testing data to create a positivity rate. The rate helps them determine if a rise in cases is because of an increase in testing or whether there’s increased transmission of the virus in the community.

On Wednesday, Florida’s Department of Health reported the results of 134,777 people tested on Tuesday. The positivity rate of new cases (people who tested positive for the first time) decreased from 10.59% to 10.14%.

©2021 Miami Herald. Visit at miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

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