ORLANDO, Fla. – A push for daily COVID-19 statistics has started after the Florida Department of Health reported more than 73,000 positive tests in the latest 7-day average.
According to experts, that’s up about 60% from last week’s total. Reports also indicate the COVID-19 positivity rate has been spiking as well.
Last week, the state saw the positivity rate at 11%. Now, it’s around 15%. This is now the second week in a row Florida leads the country in new cases.
At this same time last year, during the state’s second coronavirus case spike, the positivity rate was 13.3%.
With over 73,000 cases reported over the past week, that averages out to about 10,400 new cases per day. At this time last year, Florida reported 12,400 new cases per day.
At the peak of the coronavirus back in January, the state’s 7-day average hit 17,000 new daily cases.
“Now is the time, do not delay, do not wait go get vaccinated,” said Dr. Cindy Prins with the University of Florida.
In a plea to the public, Prins said the state is taking a turn for the worse in its fight against COVID-19.
This comes after the medical community is reporting increased COVID-infections and is pushing them to call for the return of daily reporting from the state after the shift to weekly reporting back in June.
“It’s going to give you an idea of how much spread is going on in the communities, how much risk are people really at in getting COVID-19 right now,” Prins said.
The push for more COVID reporting is also coming from state leaders. A letter has been issued from state Democrats urging President Joe Biden to step in with more assistance in battling COVID.
Meanwhile, State Sen. Randolph Bracy said another letter has also been sent to the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“We need accurate data so that we know what’s going on,” Bracy said. “I think people need to be vigilant and if they haven’t been vaccinated, they should be vaccinated.”
Prins encourages those who are still hesitant in getting vaccinated to do so now before there is any more spread of the virus.
“You have to understand that there is a huge, huge benefit to getting vaccinated,” Prins said. “It is very protective, and you are much more likely to get hospitalized or die if you aren’t vaccinated.”
A message left to DeSantis’ office seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned. Previously, the office did note that the state went to weekly reporting after seeing a downward trend in COVID infections.
Florida Department of Health Communications Director Weesam Khoury responded Monday to a request for comment on the frequency of data disclosures.
“Insinuating that reporting frequency somehow correlates to a lack of action and response is misleading to the public – this also derails the credibility of tens of thousands of public servants that have worked diligently to protect Floridians and visitors during the entire course of the pandemic,” Khoury wrote via email. “You should instead report on the most important priority which is providing actionable information to have Floridians vaccinated. You can find a COVID-19 vaccine near you at FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov/Vaccine-Locator.”