ORLANDO, Fla. – Mass vaccination efforts continue throughout Central Florida, with both federally and state-operated sites offering doses to thousands of Floridians daily.
While the number of those who are vaccinated against the novel coronavirus continues to rise, so does the total number of COVID-19 infections, with Florida nearing 2 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
Central Florida has new weapons in its arsenal to continue the fight against the coronavirus, including new vaccination sites and expanded vaccine eligibility requirements in some spots.
Following an order from President Joe Biden to get education and child care workers inoculated by the end of the month, federal vaccine sites throughout Florida, including the FEMA-operated site in Orlando, are now offering the shots to members of those groups.
A recent executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis limits the vaccine to classroom teachers 50 and older who work in kindergarten through 12th grade, but the federal guidelines allow day care workers, preschool teachers and educators in elementary, middle and high schools to be vaccinated with no age limit.
Because of those federal guidelines, CVS, Publix, Walgreens, Winn-Dixie and Walmart pharmacies have all expanded their eligibility, in addition to the federally operated site at Valencia College. K-12 educators and child care workers, regardless of their age, are now also able to get inoculated at the Orange County Convention Center, after the site expanded its criteria on Friday.
Saturday marks the first weekend the new FEMA-run site is open in Central Florida, and it’s expected to be a busy one. As of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the site had already reached 75% capacity, officials said. The vaccine site was prepared to administer 3,250 shots Saturday.
The state is also partnering with faith-based organizations to help bring vaccines into underserved communities.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 5,900 new virus infections, state begins administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine]
Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on March 6.
The Florida Department of Health reported 4,684 new cases on Saturday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,940,897 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.
Florida reported 107 new virus-related deaths Saturday, raising the death toll to 32,200. This number includes the 580 non-residents who died in Florida.
As of Saturday afternoon, there were currently 3,352 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
Since March 1, 2020, 80,863 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 231 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Saturday.
The percent of positive results was 4.91% Friday out of 95,409 tests performed. The numbers reported daily by the state reflect test results from the day prior. 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.
The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.
As of Saturday afternoon, 3,462,520 people have received at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The FDOH also reports that 1,902,314 people have received their second shot.
See COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region below:
|County||Cases||New cases||Hospitalizations||New hospitalizations||Deaths||New deaths|