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Florida has deadliest day with 72 coronavirus deaths

                                Opa-locka, Fla., police officers controlled traffic at a drive-thru food distribution site at Sherbondy Park, today.


    Opa-locka, Fla., police officers controlled traffic at a drive-thru food distribution site at Sherbondy Park, today.

MIAMI >> Florida and Miami-Dade County saw their deadliest day today amid the coronavirus pandemic, as 72 more people died statewide and 34 died in the county since Monday evening, state health officials said tonight.

The deaths came as the Florida Department of Health this evening reported 609 additional cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, bringing the state total to 21,628 confirmed cases. The state’s death toll rose to 571, a 14% increase over Monday night’s death toll of 499.

Of the 72 new deaths reported this evening, 49 were in South Florida.

Thirty-four people between the ages of 33 and 95 died in Miami-Dade County, raising the county’s death toll to 143 — the highest in the state.

According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Miami-Dade is the 12th county in the country with the most coronavirus cases. Miami-Dade had 7,712 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of this evening, the state health department reported.

It’s unclear if the 33-year-old woman referenced in today’s Miami-Dade death count is Danielle Dicenso, an ICU nurse at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, who died last week from possible COVID-19 complications.

Her husband said the nurse, who was caring for COVID-19 patients, became ill last month with symptoms associated with the disease. Her test results at the time were “inconclusive.”

Dicenso’s family believes she died from COVID-19 but told reporters they were awaiting the results from the medical examiner’s office.

Health officials did not disclose whether the 33-year-old woman referenced in the death count had any contact with someone who had tested positive for the disease.

In Broward County, two women and two men ranging in age from 69 to 86 have died, raising the county death toll to 81, according to health records.

In Palm Beach County, 11 people have died, including seven men and four women ranging in age from 61 to 93. The county’s death toll is 103.

The other 23 deaths were in Bay, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, St. Lucie and Suwannee counties.

Of the state’s new confirmed cases, 247 are Florida residents and 14 are nonresidents who were diagnosed or isolated in the state. Of the total statewide confirmed cases, 20,984 are Florida residents and 644 are nonresidents.

The state also had 2,390 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 as of Tuesday evening. The statewide and county-level data for COVID-19 hospitalizations includes anyone who was hospitalized during their illness and “does not reflect the number of people currently hospitalized,” according to Florida’s Department of Health.

The department says it does not “have a figure” to reflect current hospitalization data.

Overnight, the number of employees and residents with COVID-19 at Florida’s long-term care facilities jumped from 962 to 1,179 — up 217 cases since Monday night.

More than 300 of those cases are at facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where the first deaths were announced at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale.

Today, the Court at Palm Aire, a senior living community and skilled nursing center in Pompano Beach, said two residents had died from COVID-19 in its skilled nursing unit.

Despite the threat of a public records lawsuit that would force the state to divulge the names of all facilities that have had a positive test for COVID-19, the state has not yet been forthcoming.

The governor’s office initially named one facility: Atria Willow Wood, a 180-bed assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale where at least six residents have died.

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