County-to-county comparisons don’t tell all, or even very much, of the real story, data provided by Okaloosa County Health Department Director Karen Chapman shows.

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Seven of the 46 Okaloosa County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, as of Thursday morning, have required hospitalization, which is a number that might seem high when compared to Escambia County’s 97 positive tests and just two hospitalizations.

But county-to-county comparisons don’t tell all, or even very much, of the real story, data provided by Okaloosa County Health Department Director Karen Chapman shows.

Nearly 35 percent of the 46 who have tested positive in Okaloosa County are over the age of 65, Chapman said in an email. In Escambia County, approximately 12 percent of the positive tests fall into the 65 and older category.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that with COVID-19, 45% of hospitalizations, 53% of ICU admissions and 80% of deaths occur among adults 65 years of age and older, Chapman said. And the highest percentage of “severe outcomes” occur among those 85 or older.

In Florida, the COVID-19 death rates among seniors are even higher than the national norm, standing at 86% of the total, another CDC study showed. Okaloosa County’s single recorded COVID-19 death was that of an 87-year-old man.

Chapman also pointed out that hospitalization numbers are “unknown or missing” for 25.7, or 25 positive test cases in Escambia County, while Okaloosa County is unclear on the hospitalization status of just two individuals.

Escambia County did just take a tremendous COVID-19 numbers hit when 1,243 results from field tests for the virus came back from commercial labs, according to Mike Burke, spokesman for Acension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.

“That big increase in lab results led to an increase in the reported cases of COVID-19, from 42 on Saturday to 114 now,” Burke said.

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Not all of the 114 who tested positive reside in Escambia County. Those individuals are not reflected in the county’s data that is presented daily in a Florida Department of Health report.

Chapman said hospitalizations in COVID-19 cases won’t only be age-related. A person with an underlying history of serious health issues can also be at risk.

In Santa Rosa County, which like Okaloosa County has 46 confirmed COVID-19 cases and has hospitalized seven, the number of elderly victims who have tested positive is not as high as it is in Okaloosa.

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Nine of the 46 who have tested positive in Santa Rosa County, or about 20 percent, are over age 65.

In Walton County, six of 18 who have tested positive, or 33 percent, are over 65. Five COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized.

Regionally, 66 have tested positive for COVID-16 in Pensacola, 17 in Destin, 14 in both Navarre and Milton, 10 in Niceville, seven in Santa Rosa Beach, and five in Crestview, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City.

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