Florida seeing less COVID-19 fatalities, hospital stays but still reporting thousands of new cases

DOH reports 3,787 new COVID-19 cases

A lab technician works on blood samples taken from people taking part in a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine test at the Ndlovu clinic's lab in Groblersdal, South Africa, 200 kms north-east of Johannesburg Thursday Feb. 11, 2021. African countries without the coronavirus variant dominant in South Africa should go ahead and use the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, while the World Health Organization suggested the vaccine even for countries with the variant circulating widely.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Jerome Delay, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Overall cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to the coronavirus were down last week as Florida vaccine efforts continue to ramp up with new locations around the state.

Data provided by the Florida Department of Health shows new infections dropped by just over 11% last week while hospital stays related to COVID-19 saw a nearly 20% drop. Florida reported 1,114 coronavirus fatalities last week, which is down more than 10% from the week prior.

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Health officials agree the greatest threat to the coronavirus vaccine rollout is the growing number of virus variants, including the U.K. variant. In Florida there are nearly 380 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, more cases than any other state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The makers of COVID-19 vaccines are figuring out how to tweak their recipes against worrisome virus mutations — and regulators are looking to the flu as a blueprint if and when the shots need an update.

Viruses mutate constantly and it takes just the right combination of particular mutations to escape vaccination. But studies are raising concern that first-generation COVID-19 vaccines don’t work as well against a mutant that first emerged in South Africa as they do against other versions circulating around the world.

Many of the new COVID-19 vaccines are made with new, flexible technology that’s easy to upgrade. What’s harder: Deciding if the virus has mutated enough that it’s time to modify vaccines — and what changes to make.

“When do you pull the trigger?” asked Norman Baylor, a former Food and Drug Administration vaccine chief. “This is a moving target right now.”

Below is a breakdown of coronavirus data for last week:

Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Fewer than 6,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Florida]

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Feb. 15.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 3,787 new cases on Monday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,830,988 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1.

Deaths

Florida reported 159 new virus-related deaths Monday, raising the death toll to 29,434. This number includes the 500 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Monday afternoon, there were currently 4,676 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since March, 76,219 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 110 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Monday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 6.83% Sunday for the 55,418 tests reported to the state. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.

Vaccinations

The Florida Department of Health recently began releasing a daily report on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.

As of Monday afternoon, 2,387,350 people have received at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The FDOH also reports that 1,103,298 people have received their second shot.

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

CountyCasesNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard32,083701,91207041
Flagler5,64693242852
Lake23,498561,204-152711
Marion26,391581,61606771
Orange109,6501972,28401,03015
Osceola35,429351,23714022
Polk54,5731384,16341,0571
Seminole25,879581,08214045
Sumter7,6081147142194
Volusia33,308441,63026095