Floridas COVID-19 cases double in the span of a week while deaths decrease – Florida Today

COVID-19 cases across Florida more than doubled over the course of a week, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health on Friday. 

From Dec.10 to Dec.16, Florida had 29,568 COVID-19 cases and 134.6 cases per 100,000; the week prior, Florida had 13,530 COVID-19 cases and 61.6 cases per 100,000. This makes for an increase 16,038 in COVID-19 cases and 73 cases per 100,000 in the span of one week. 

The increase in the new case positivity rate saw parallel increases: from Dec. 10 to Dec. 16, Florida had a case positivity rate of 5.4%, up 2.8% from the previous week. 

The increase in cases coincides with wastewater sampling in Orange County that found the highly-contagious omicron variant of the novel coronavirus that has swept other parts of the globe to be the main strain of COVID-19 found in the county’s sewage samples.

Despite the increase in cases and concerns about omicron, COVID-19 related deaths in Florida decreased, according to FDOH data. There were 194 COVID-19 related deaths from Dec.10 and Dec.16, the week prior there were 325 COVID-19 related deaths. As of Dec.16, there have been 62,220 COVID-19 related deaths across Florida since the start of the pandemic.

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The jump in the number of cases over the past week took Florida from being a community of “substantial transmission” to a community of “high transmission,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention metrics.

The CDC defines a community of high transmission as a community that has more than a 100 cases per 100,000 and a percent positivity rate of over 10%.

A community of substantial transmission is one that has between 50 and 100 cases per 100,000 and a percent positivity rate between 8 and 10 percentage points. 

A community of moderate transmission is one where there are between 10 and 50 cases per 100,000 people and the case positivity rate is between 5% and 8%, according to the CDC. 

To be a community of low transmission, Florida would need to have a new case positivity rate below 5% and have less than 10 cases per 100,000.

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Though the case rate has increased dramatically, the state’s vaccination rate experienced virtually no change: only 70% of eligible Floridians —those ages five and older— have received at least one dose of the initial sequence of a vaccine as of Dec.16, according to FDOH figures. 

According to FDOH, of the eligible population in Florida, age group vaccination rates across the state are:

  • Ages 5-11, 12% vaccinated
  • Ages 12-19, 58% vaccinated.
  • Ages 20-29, 59% vaccinated.
  • Ages 30-39, 68% vaccinated.
  • Ages 40-49, 76% vaccinated.
  • Ages 50-59, 81% vaccinated.
  • Ages 60-64, 88% vaccinated.
  • Ages 65+, 90% vaccinated.

About 17% of Floridians have received a booster shot of the vaccine. 

Nationwide, a total of 799,847 Americans have died of COVID-19 as of Dec.17, according to CDC data. The CDC predicts that the COVID-19 death toll could increase to 845,000 by January 2022.

Amira Sweilem is the data reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Sweilem at 386-406-5648 or asweilem@floridatoday.com

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