Florida expands vaccine access as state reports 7,075 new COVID-19 cases

Merck & Co. to help Johnson & Johnson produce vaccine doses

This Sept. 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows the investigational Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Johnson & Johnson's long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine appears to protect against symptomatic illness with just one shot  not as strong as some two-shot rivals but still potentially helpful for a world in dire need of more doses. Johnson & Johnson said Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 that in the U.S. and seven other countries, the first single-shot vaccine appears 66% effective overall at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. It was more protective against severe symptoms, 85%. (Cheryl Gerber/Johnson & Johnson via AP)
This Sept. 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows the investigational Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Johnson & Johnson's long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine appears to protect against symptomatic illness with just one shot not as strong as some two-shot rivals but still potentially helpful for a world in dire need of more doses. Johnson & Johnson said Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 that in the U.S. and seven other countries, the first single-shot vaccine appears 66% effective overall at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. It was more protective against severe symptoms, 85%. (Cheryl Gerber/Johnson & Johnson via AP) (Cheryl Gerber)

ORLANDO, Fla. – In an effort to help with production, drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine, a Biden administration official confirmed Tuesday.

Officials have said J&J faced unexpected production issues with its vaccine. The company produced only 3.9 million doses ahead of receiving emergency use authorization from the FDA on Saturday. The company says it is on pace to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June.

The assistance from Merck was expected to help J&J meet its production commitments and expand supply even further, but the administration did not immediately provide specifics.

Florida is expected to soon receive its first doses of the J&J COIVD-19 vaccine. The governor said Monday, the state could receive 175,000 doses of the single-use vaccine.

The exact number of doses coming to the state has not yet been announced and the governor has not said how they will be allocated.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also signed an executive order Monday expanding who is eligible to get vaccinated in Florida.

The list now includes firefighters, law enforcement officers and school employees who are 50 or older, people who doctors deem to be “extremely vulnerable to COVID-19,” anyone over the age of 65 and health care workers with direct patient contact.

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: More vaccination appointments open in Central Florida as state reports 1,817 new COVID-19 cases]

Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on March 2.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 7,075 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,918,100 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.

Deaths

Florida reported 140 new virus-related deaths Tuesday, raising the death toll to 31,696. This number includes the 561 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were currently 3,673 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since March 1, 2020, 79,731 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 305 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Tuesday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 5.69% Monday. 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 began releasing a daily report in December on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 3,084,403 people have received at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The FDOH also reports that 1,723,722 people have received their second shot.

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

CountyCasesNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard34,2121422,020167515
Flagler6,008373300920
Lake24,7441091,26755666
Marion27,750871,74188063
Orange114,8414072,402161,1062
Osceola36,9811421,28234480
Polk57,3391894,398151,15010
Seminole27,3841221,12634300
Sumter8,0715050912380
Volusia34,6801151,745136652

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