ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida reported more than 73,000 new COVID-19 cases this week and increasing hospitalizations as the state ramps up vaccination efforts against the virus now fueled by the highly contagious delta variant.
For the second week in a row, federal health leaders said one in five cases in the U.S. were in Florida. The Sunshine State along with Texas and Missouri account for 40% of all cases in the country, federal health leaders said. According to Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Florida is the epicenter of transmissions.
[TRENDING: YIMBY: Group wants more housing in Central Fla. | Police: Accused robbers used apps to target LGBTQ+ community | ‘Sufficiently worried:’ Doctor blames low vaccination rates for spike in COVID cases]
“It’s very, very clear right now that what’s responsible for what’s going on are a large number of unvaccinated individuals and a large disease reservoir now and when this virus has an opportunity to propagate it will,” Rubin said.
AdventHealth locations in Central Florida have placed new precautionary measures due to the rising cases and hospitalizations — limiting the number of visitors and deferring scheduling patients for new elective surgeries.
Orange County leaders provided an update earlier this week saying the county is seeing new COVID-19 cases in numbers similar to what was seen in January, a time the state saw its highest peak of new cases. Dr. Raul Pino, from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, has said for several weeks that each new infection is a chance for the virus to mutate again and create a variant that is even more infectious than the delta variant, which is currently the dominant strain in the U.S.
As the state sees higher cases and with the delta variant accounting for more than 50% of all U.S. cases, discussions on mask-wearing for the upcoming school year are resurfacing. Gov. Ron DeSantis said in response to emerging questions on school mask requirements that he would call for a special legislative session if the federal government tried to impose masks across all schools.
“There’s been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level, imposing compulsory masks on kids,” DeSantis said. “We’re not doing that in Florida, OK? We need our kids to breathe.”
In Brevard County, a summer camp at Viera Elementary had 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and an unknown number of children who had to quarantine following the outbreak. According to the Associated Press, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended schools require face masks for children older than 2 and all adults, regardless of vaccination status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend masks for anyone without a COVID-19 vaccine in schools.
[READ THE LAST COVID-19 REPORT: Florida averages 6,515 cases per day as health officials say misinformation could create ‘unvaccinated pandemic’]
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on July 23.
The Florida Department of Health reported 73,199 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,479,975 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 10,457 new infections reported per day.
Florida reported 78 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 38,670 actually shows there have been 282 new deaths added to the state total. 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.
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. However, Florida is still required to report that information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC continues to release that information online. The most recent hospital numbers are below:
The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 15.1% 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 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 9,914,406 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, 103,909 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 and new vaccination numbers between July 16-July 22, 2021.
|County||Total cases as of July 22||New cases since July 16||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 12+ population vaccinated|