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Brazil virus variant found in Florida as officials report 6,650 new cases

Florida’s positivity rate is 5.85%, COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline

South Florida hospitals look to expand COVID-19 vaccines to younger patients

ORLANDO, Fla. – As health officials work to vaccinate millions of Floridians, researchers say the first case of the P.1 virus variant has been found in Florida.

According to the CDC, the P.1 variant was first found in travelers in Brazil. The first instance of the variant in the U.S. was reported in late January, the agency said.

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As of Thursday, Florida had only reported one case of P.1 and was one of only four states reporting confirmed cases of the variant in the U.S., according to a map from the CDC.

Scientists said there is evidence to believe some of the mutations in the variant could affect how easily it’s transmitted and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines that are currently being administered.

To find out what other states have reported cases of the variant and what researchers are saying about the variant, click or tap here.

Also on Friday, the White House coronavirus senior advisor announced four new federally supported COVID-19 vaccination sites will open in Florida’s biggest metro areas, including Orlando.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, the Florida Department of Health, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida National Guard have formed a partnership to operate the four sites.

The site in Orlando is expected to open March 3.

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida health officials report 5,000 new cases of COVID-19, 166 new deaths]

Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:

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

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 6,652 new cases on Friday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,856,427 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1.

Deaths

Florida reported 224 new virus-related deaths Friday, raising the death toll to 30,214. This number includes the 522 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Friday afternoon, there were currently 4,298 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since March, 77,408 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 284 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Wednesday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 5.85% Thursday of the 113,674 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 Friday afternoon, 2,617,774 people have received at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The FDOH also reports that 1,294,225 people have received their second shot.

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

CountyCasesNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard32,6751201,951107217
Flagler5,742283280860
Lake23,786581,22005343
Marion26,832841,662107223
Orange111,1783542,334131,0699
Osceola35,849961,24724171
Polk55,4732044,243171,1017
Seminole26,4201231,106114105
Sumter7,7142649672262
Volusia33,5601651,673166339

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