TAMPA, Fla. — Data released Monday from Florida’s Department of Health (DOH) shows a downward trend of new coronavirus cases.
While testing numbers were lower than normal over the weekend, Monday marked the lowest count of new coronavirus cases in Florida since mid-June.
“We absolutely are starting to see some real breaks in the clouds here,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch with USF Health. “Every metric that I can look at is pointing all in the same direction and they’re all saying that we’re making really good progress over the last month or so.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman took to social media to thank the public for wearing a mask and social distancing.
4.5% positive in our overnight county data.
5.0% is our two week rolling average.
Thank you for wearing a mask, social distancing, being smart & patient & kind. This hasn’t been an easy time, but by trusting science and working together we’ve led the way here in Florida. ☀️
— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) August 16, 2020
Dr. Unnasch said overall case numbers are down 50 percent compared to one month ago and hospitalizations due to coronavirus are also down.
“We have this thing on the run right now but if we turn our backs and raise our hands to the sky, proclaim victory, it’s just going to come around and cold-cock us and knock us down on the mat again,” he said.
According to DOH, the positivity rate in Hillsborough County was 6.9 percent on Sunday.
In Pinellas County, the positivity rate dipped to 3.1 percent.
COVID update: 3.1% positive in our Pinellas overnight data.
Our two week rolling average is 4.95% positive.
It is especially important that we keep leading the way and doing the right things in order to maintain this trajectory, especially with school starting up. ☀️ pic.twitter.com/WQaIdPlEeh
— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) August 18, 2020
ABC Action News asked Dr. Unnasch if policies such as mask mandates and enforcing social distancing is a direct correlation to lower numbers seen this week.
Dr. Unnasch said in June, new cases doubled every seven days in Hillsborough County before an ordinance went into effect.
“When they instituted the mask order, one week later the doubling time in Hillsborough County went from seven days to 320 days,” Dr. Unnasch said.