Florida averages 15,780+ cases per day as delta variant continues fueling surge

New data showing easier spread among vaccinated, unvaccinated

Florida COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise to concerning levels
Florida COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise to concerning levels

ORLANDO, Fla. – As more is learned about the COVID-19 delta variant fueling a rapid spread of cases in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance for vaccinated individuals in indoor spaces and recommended mask use in schools.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said with earlier variants, vaccinated people were found to have low levels of the virus and less likely to spread the virus much. The delta variant is more transmissible and, according to Walensky, the level of virus in infected vaccinated people is “indistinguishable” from the level of virus in unvaccinated people.

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In an internal document from the CDC — first reported by The Washington Post —data shows fully vaccinated people might spread the delta variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people and that the variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox, urging officials to “acknowledge the war has changed.” The CDC updated its mask guidance Tuesday and COVID-19 testing guidelines, asking anyone — regardless of vaccination status — to get tested if they are exposed to someone who tested positive.

As hospital systems are seeing increased hospitalizations due to the virus, many are limiting elective surgeries in an effort to free up space and alleviate the impact on staff. AdventHealth elevated to “black” status, meaning officials will defer non-emergency surgeries at hospitals throughout the Central Florida division.

“What’s extraordinary is the speed at which we are currently seeing new cases and unfortunately right now, the slope is pretty steep and we haven’t seen the end of it, this is still coming,” executive director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiologist Dr. Vincent Hsu said.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings signed an executive order Wednesday declaring a local state of emergency, urging residents and visitors to wear a mask in indoor spaces as well as issuing an internal audit requiring county employees to be vaccinated by Sept. 30. Businesses, including Disney World, were urged to encourage employees to get vaccinated and require guests to wear masks.

Starting Friday, Disney World is requiring guests to wear masks while indoors whether they are vaccinated or not. Theme park officials said masks remain optional while guests are outside. At Universal Studios, team members will be required to wear masks indoors and near guests starting Saturday.

[READ THE LAST COVID-19 REPORT: Florida averages nearly 10,500 cases per day amid increasing hospitalizations ]

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on July 30.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 110,477 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,590,699 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 15,782 new infections reported per day. This is the highest daily average for a 7-day period in the state of Florida since the pandemic began.

Deaths

Florida reported 108 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 39,079 actually shows there have been 409 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.

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. 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:

Positivity rate

The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 18.1% 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.

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 10,046,576 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, 98,696 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 23-July 29, 2021.

CountyTotal cases as of July 29New cases since July 23Total people vaccinatedPercent of 12+ population vaccinated
Brevard51,5253,516313,97758%
Flagler9,00466563,76161%
Lake35,6501,961195,89359%
Marion36,1151,881173,84853%
Orange163,4177,913780,45263%
Osceola52,0112,160220,24665%
Polk81,1324,100324,92653%
Seminole42,0862,419253,38060%
Sumter10,29732190,47769%
Volusia53,2123,495272,37856%

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About the Author:

Brenda, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando.com team in March 2021.