ORLANDO, Fla. – Vaccine efforts across Florida entered the second week Monday with new distribution sites opening and drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens working to inoculate long-term care facility residents and staff.
There are more than 321,000 residents and staff at such facilities across Florida, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration. Gov. Ron DeSantis has challenged the Department of Health to have all staff and residents at assisted-living centers vaccinated with the first dose in four weeks. The more than 360,000 shots from Moderna, the maker of the second approved coronavirus vaccine, headed for Florida should help toward that goal. Those shipments started departing Sunday.
DeSantis said Florida is expected to receive 61,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine Monday and more than 300,000 doses Tuesday. Those will be distributed to more than 170 hospitals throughout the state. Florida is also expecting about 12,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to arrive within 48 hours, according to the governor.
DOH strike teams along with CVS and Walgreens pharmacy staff have now both begun inoculations in LTC facilities as part of a partnership with the federal government.
After frontline workers and assisted living centers, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel recommended the next priority vaccination group include people 75 and older and essential workers like firefighters, teachers and grocery store workers.
DeSantis disagreed with that recommendation citing the virus mortality rate in those between 65 and 75 years old
“They were going to prioritize essential workers over elderly. I think that’s a huge mistake,” DeSantis said. “The problem with that as I see it is a 22-year-old food service worker would get a vaccine over 74-year-old grandmother. I don’t think that that’s an appropriate calculation of the relative risk there.”
The governor said he plans to release more information Tuesday on how Florida will approach prioritizing the vaccine beyond frontline workers and long-term care facilities.
“Suffice it to say our whole strategy around COVID has always recognized the dramatic discrepancy in risk based on age,” DeSantis said.
In the first full week of the largest vaccine campaign in recent history, initial shots were given to about 556,000 Americans, including more than 40,000 Floridians, according to the CDC.
Meanwhile, the demand for testing in Central Florida is holding strong ahead of Christmas. People are rushing to get tested before traveling to see family and friends for the holiday.
Long lines at Orange County testing sites at Barnett Park and the Orange County Convention Center resulted in people waiting hours to get tested.
Barnett Park ended tests around 1:30 p.m. Monday due to capacity but will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
All state-supported COVID-19 testing sites will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Florida has been seeing rising COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations during the past few weeks. The numbers the Sunshine State is reporting now mirror what Florida experienced over the summer during the peak of the pandemic.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 8,100 new COVID-19 cases as state prepares for week 2 of vaccinations]
Below is a breakdown of cases, recent deaths, hospitalizations and Florida’s positivity rate reported by the state on Dec. 21:
The Florida Department of Health reported 10,772 new cases on Monday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,212,581 cases since March.
Editor’s note: Along with the resources previously utilized by News 6 (state and county-by-county data), as of Dec. 7, WKMG has added state data pulled from the Florida Department of Health’s Florida COVID19 State Testing Totals. This new dataset includes the number of people tested the day prior, which is the number public health officials use to calculate the state’s daily positivity rate.
Florida reported 115 new virus deaths Monday. This means at least 20,976 people have died in relation to the coronavirus across the state, including 296 non-residents who died in Florida.
As of Monday afternoon, there are currently 5,514 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration, an increase by 278 patients within 24 hours.
Since March, 60,152 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from the coronavirus. That number includes the 157 people who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report.
The positivity rate for the 127,457 tests reported Monday was 8.45%. This statistic is the number of people who tested positive for the first time based on test results reported to the state Sunday.
The Florida Department of Health recently began releasing a daily report on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state. As of Monday, 43,716 people have been vaccinated in Florida, about 3,679 more than the previous day.
See COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region below:
|County||Cases||New cases||Hospitalizations||New Hospitalizations||Deaths||New deaths|
The Associated Press contributed to this report.