By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Nearly 58,000 Florida residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started in early 2020, according to a report released Friday by the state Department of Health.

The report listed 57,859 deaths as of Thursday. That was up from 56,667 in a report issued last week.

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Lags in reporting make it unclear when the deaths occurred. While the death toll has increased, the state has seen a steady decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations in September and the first half of October.

The Florida Hospital Association said Friday that 2,938 patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were hospitalized in the state as of Friday, a 24 percent drop from a week earlier.

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The number cited by the hospital association was lower than a total posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

That total showed 3,257 people hospitalized in Florida with COVID-19.

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Regardless, the numbers reflect significant decreases in hospitalizations since summer, as the state hit a peak of more than 17,000 people hospitalized in August. Team