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Florida reports highest infection rate yet, more than 11,800 new COVID-19 cases

DOH officials say drop in testing is to blame for high rate over 22%

2nd virus vaccine shows promising success
2nd virus vaccine shows promising success

ORLANDO, Fla. – With the country awaiting word on whether the Republican-controlled Senate will eventually approve sending $2,000 coronavirus relief checks to most Americans, Florida yet again reported thousands of new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday.

The House overwhelmingly approved the measure to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 at the request of President Donald Trump but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Democrats’ request to hold a vote on Tuesday.

[TRENDING: How to get vaccine in Florida | Will vaccine work on new strains? | Strange Florida: Here’s the proof]

He said the chamber would “begin a process” to address the issue.

McConnell, who has said little publicly on Trump’s request, objected to hold a vote but gave almost no indication of his plans ahead.

If it the measure does eventually get the greenlight, it would amend the $2 trillion-plus COVID-19 relief and federal spending package Trump signed into law Sunday. The package includes $900 billion in COVID-19 aid and $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies.

Meanwhile, Florida reported its highest positivity rate for new infections in months. For months Florida has reported an infection rate under the CDC advised 10%. The state Department of Health attributed the rate reported Tuesday was over 22% due to less people being tested.

“The reported positivity rate is 22.75 percent, which should be interpreted with caution due to reduced hours and closures at doctor’s offices, public testing sites, and laboratories for the holidays,” the DOH said in a statement. “These reduced hours and closures have resulted in less people tested and delays in result processing and reporting which have impacted Florida’s daily testing number by nearly half. As we continue to experience office closures and holidays through January 4, 2021, it is possible that data may continue to be impacted over the coming days.”

Previously, Florida’s highest positivity rate was on July 8 at over 19%.

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 8,000 new COVID-19 cases as vaccination efforts continue]

Across Central Florida, elderly residents, who are the most vulnerable, are also anxiously awaiting word on when they’ll be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Seminole began vaccinating its 65+ population on Monday and those efforts began Tuesday in Orange.

Most other counties across the region plan to start either later this week or in early January. You can read more about their plans here.

Already, more than 146,000 people in Florida have been inoculated since the state first started administering shots on Dec. 14. Health care workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, those 65 and older and other frontline workers will need to receive their doses before the process opens up to the general population, likely in late spring.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer were simultaneously vaccinated after they rolled out their plans to begin providing the shots to elderly residents at the Orange County Convention Center and in certain section nine housing communities.

Both mayors said the process was simple.

“That was painless,” Demings said.

“Yeah, I didn’t feel anything,” Dyer responded.


Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Dec. 29:

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 11,887 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,292,252 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.

Deaths

Florida reported 105 new virus deaths Tuesday. This means at least 21, 718 people have died in relation to the coronavirus across the state, including 309 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are currently 6,270 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since March, 62,142 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from the coronavirus. That number includes the 479 people who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results ranged from 7.90% to 11.08% during the past two weeks and was 22.75% Monday. This reflected the 11,887 positive cases reported out of 52,259 tests reported to the state. Prior to the Christmas holiday the state was reporting more than 100,000 tests a day.

Vaccinations

The Florida Department of Health recently began releasing a daily report on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state. As of Tuesday, 146,160 people have been vaccinated in Florida.

See COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region below:

CountyCasesNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard20,5221671,419125130
Flagler3,610452243480
Lake14,99815796962941
Marion17,2991741,312124582
Orange74,2735821,942127331
Osceola24,6841721,06742882
Polk36,2533113,303878013
Seminole17,64219790023110
Sumter4,8897037511180
Volusia21,7153501,26684333

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.