CDC offers warning on delta variant as Florida averages 1,500+ new cases per day in last week

More contagious variant could become dominant strain in US

FILE - In this June 11, 2021, file photo, healthcare worker prepares inject a student with a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic hosted by Jewel Osco at London Middle School in Wheeling, Ill.  As cases fall and states reopen, the potential final stage in the U.S. campaign to vanquish COVID-19 is turning into a slog, with a worrisome variant gaining a bigger foothold and lotteries and other inducements failing to persuade some Americans to get vaccinated. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
FILE - In this June 11, 2021, file photo, healthcare worker prepares inject a student with a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic hosted by Jewel Osco at London Middle School in Wheeling, Ill. As cases fall and states reopen, the potential final stage in the U.S. campaign to vanquish COVID-19 is turning into a slog, with a worrisome variant gaining a bigger foothold and lotteries and other inducements failing to persuade some Americans to get vaccinated. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky says she expects the delta variant will become the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S. The delta variant, first detected in India, has become dominant in Britain.

She also encouraged people to get vaccinated, saying that it would protect them against the highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus.

While the variant is a cause for concern, Dr. Raul Pino from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said Wednesday it has not yet been detected in Central Florida’s most populous county.

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“That seems to be even more aggressive,” he said. “And it seems to be affecting younger, more than before.”

He added that the delta variant has not been detected yet in Orange County but said that it was more motivation to get the younger population vaccinated, especially as more children will be back in the classroom next school year.

“To give you an idea of where our concern is coming from, our residents 12 to 17, we have only vaccinated with at least one dose 31,247. That is only 29% of the population and that needs to increase rapidly before we go into the school year,” Pino said.

At the same time, leaders with Orange County Public Schools are debating whether to make face coverings optional for the upcoming school year. On Thursday, the board discussed moving forward with that plan and members of the public were able to provide input.

Public comment was halted several times Thursday as community members became heated, at times yelling at board members. There was no vote during Thursday’s meeting. The final vote will happen on July 13, public comment will be allowed during this meeting. If approved, the new policy would be effective Aug. 2.

The district is working to vaccinate more eligible students ahead of the upcoming school year.

[READ THE LAST COVID-19 REPORT: Florida eliminates some COVID-19 data as state averages 1,700+ new cases per day ]

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on June 18.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 10,629 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,310,881 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 1,518 new infections reported per day.

Deaths

Florida reported 43 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week. The state reported the cumulative death toll to 37,555. However, when the 43 new deaths are added to the cumulative death total from last week’s report, 37,265, the numbers come out to 37,308. The state has not provided any information as to when these deaths occurred.

The state stopped reporting the number of non-residents who died in Florida with its new weekly reporting method.

Hospitalizations

The state Agency for Health Care Administration deleted its current COVID-19 hospitalization database and the state is no longer reporting how many patients have been hospitalized with the virus.

In the last daily report on June 18, since March 2020, 95,607 people had been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19.

Positivity rate

The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 3.3% but did not provide how many people were tested during the past week. 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 positivity rate has remained below 5% for more than 15 days in Florida.

Vaccinations

The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December 2020 on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state. In the new weekly reports, the state is combining the vaccination data with the COVID-19 infection numbers.

FDOH reports 8,979,816 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.

During the past week, 123,414 new people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Central Florida region

The state is no longer providing a breakdown of county-by-county deaths or hospitalizations as of June 3. The Florida DOH is also no longer providing county numbers for non-residents who have tested positive, causing the total case numbers to drop significantly, in some counties by more than 1,000 cases.

For example, with non-resident positive cases as of June 3, Orange County had reported a total of 143,198 but with the state’s new reporting method, the county has 141,941 total cases, a difference of 1,257 positive cases.

Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases, the positivity rate and new vaccination numbers between June 11-17, 2021.

CountyTotal cases as of June 17New cases since June 11Total people vaccinatedPercent of 12+ population vaccinated
Brevard42,844240289,37654%
Flagler7,4913259,88257%
Lake30,911146182,63755%
Marion32,02675160,70349%
Orange142,710769690,79855%
Osceola46,205289191,96257%
Polk71,561357294,29148%
Seminole35,735268233,36055%
Sumter9,4723888,16067%
Volusia44,757266249,93551%

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.