ORLANDO, Fla. – As the number of coronavirus cases drops in Florida from the latest surge caused by the delta variant, the state has surpassed 50,000 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to the Associated Press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 50,811 deaths after state health officials added 1,500 deaths Thursday. A new report released by the senior advocacy group AARP shows hundreds of nursing home residents in Florida died of COVID-19 in August, which only analyzed licensed nursing homes.
New data from a report released by the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services breaks down COVID-19 deaths by county in Florida, marking the first time this data has been released to the public since the state health department took down the daily COVID dashboard in June.
The increase in deaths comes as the state is seeing lower hospitalization numbers that strained many hospital systems.
In Central Florida, AdventHealth returned to “largely normal operations” as it transitioned into “green” status. The hospital system has been loosening restrictions over the last couple weeks and allowing more deferred surgical procedures. The hospital was in “black” status during the peak and postponed all non-emergency surgeries.
“I think this really represents a movement in the right direction, but we are by no means out of this and the fact that we moved to green and have moved to green, nobody should think this pandemic is over yet,” said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division.
Thursday marked the first day a new law went into effect banning vaccine passports in Florida. The law would impose a fine of $5,000 per violation of the vaccine passport ban, meaning for every person who did not get vaccinated and then was required to, the county, city or employer would be fined $5,000.
“I think offering incentives, providing information, encouraging, I think is well within their rights and, you know, I think that would be totally appropriate. What’s not appropriate under Florida law is to fire somebody based on on this issue. We’ve got to protect people’s jobs. We’ve got to protect people’s livelihoods,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference.
Volusia County Public Schools approved a new mask policy that allows parents to opt-out children from wearing a mask in class. The school board was scheduled to discuss its new mask policy last week, but the emergency meeting was canceled to allow time to wait for a decision about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates in schools. An appellate court has since ruled the ban can stay in place while a lawsuit challenging the executive order works its way through the appeals process.
Next week, Brevard County Public Schools is set to reevaluate its mask mandate during a meeting Tuesday. Its current mask mandate, which requires all student without a medical exemption to wear a mask, is in place through the end of the month.
[READ THE LAST COVID-19 REPORT: As Biden announces vaccine mandate, Florida averages 14,300+ daily COVID cases]
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Sept. 17.
The Florida Department of Health reported 75,906 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 3,485,163 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 10,844 new infections reported per day.
Even though the Florida DOH released numbers once a week, the state is still reporting daily infections to the CDC. Below is the CDC daily number, which is 24 hours behind.
Florida reported 384 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 51,240 actually shows there have been 4,468 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 show 9,122 adult and 134 pediatric patients in Florida.
The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 11.2% 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 11,208,873 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, 117,075 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 Sept. 10 - Sept. 16, 2021.
|County||Total cases as of Sept. 16||New cases since Sept. 10||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 12+ population vaccinated|