ORLANDO, Fla. – Thousands of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shots began arriving in Florida Tuesday, however, now the question becomes: Who will receive them?
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.
Gov. Ron 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.”
Florida, along with the rest of the country, continues to see a huge demand for virus testing ahead of the Christmas holiday. People seeking tests in order to travel should expect long wait times and arrive early.
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.
Orange County’s top health officials Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health, said the latest deaths were made up of mostly ones from December, which could be a bad sign for the county’s death rate.
“Three of those deaths were from August and September, three were from November and 14 were from December. And that happened also last week, too, the largest number was from this month and that’s an indication that our rates may be increasing,” Pino said.
Pino said the fact that the number of infections in assisted living facilities is on the rise is another cause for concern regarding the county’s death rate.
“From the prior week to the last week that just finished, we doubled the number of individuals with COVID-19 in long-term care facilities,” Pino said, adding “this is where we get really concerned about the mortality rate.”
Pino said “it was just a matter of time” until the county saw a spike in cases in those facilities. He believes they could be due to increased social interaction within the facilities, including visits from grandchildren and other family members.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 10,772 new COVID-19 cases as second week of vaccination efforts begins]
Below is a breakdown of cases, recent deaths, hospitalizations and Florida’s positivity rate reported by the state on Dec. 22:
The Florida Department of Health reported 10,271 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,223,015 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 76 new virus deaths Tuesday. This means at least 21,052 people have died in relation to the coronavirus across the state, including 298 non-residents who died in Florida.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there are currently 5,633 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration, an increase by 119 patients within 24 hours.
Since March, 60,471 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from the coronavirus. That number includes the 319 people who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report.
The positivity rate for the 117,008 tests reported Tuesday was 8.78%. This statistic is the number of people who tested positive for the first time based on test results reported to the state Monday.
The Florida Department of Health recently began releasing a daily report on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state. As of Tuesday, 49,932 people have been vaccinated in Florida, about 6,216 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 and Brianna Volz contributed to this report.