Florida averages 2,780+ daily COVID cases as FDA panel endorses Moderna, Johnson & Johnson boosters

State COVID-19 positivity rate at 3.8%

FILE - In this May 19, 2021, file photo, a licensed practical nurse draws a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a mass vaccination clinic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Starting Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration convenes its independent advisers for the first stage in the process of deciding whether extra shots of Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines should be dispensed and, if so, who should get them and when. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) (Steven Senne, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Food and Drug Administration panel endorsed Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine booster Friday, a day after they recommended a half-dose booster shot of the Moderna vaccine.

U.S. health advisers recommended the Moderna booster shot to those who have received the last of the two-shot series at least six months ago.

J&J boosters could be administered as early as two months after the initial vaccination, since people aren’t as protected with single-dose shots, but it might be beneficial to wait six months, according to health officials.

According to Thursday’s FDA panel, the booster shot is recommended for older adults, as well as younger adults with other health problems or who have jobs or living situations that put them at increased risk from COVID-19. The FDA will use its advisers’ recommendations in making final decisions for boosters from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which is being discussed Friday.

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This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed to fight federal vaccine mandates as President Joe Biden plans to release an executive order that will mandate companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations for workers or submit them to weekly COVID-19 testing. The governor called the mandate from the Biden administration an overreach of federal powers.

“It’s also not good policy to unilaterally impose a mandate that you don’t have authority to impose — that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) does not have this authority. There’s no statutory basis for it. This is a total reach that they’re doing,” DeSantis said.

Earlier this week, officials announced the state issued fines against Leon County totaling $3,570,000 for “its blatant violation of the law relating to the ban of vaccine passports” as the county required 714 employees or former employees to show proof of vaccination.

As Florida continues to battle violations of its vaccine passport ban, cases continue to be reviewed for violations, according to the Associated Press. In Central Florida, the Orange County government, convention center, AdventHealth, Amway Center and more venues are being investigated. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Orange County said leaders there have not yet received any notice of violation from the state. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings had previously said the county has the authority to impose such mandates.

“Our county attorney’s office believes that we are on solid legal grounds, both from a federal and a state perspective and so we know that something was wrong with the directive that Gov. DeSantis put out — primarily because there were no rules in place and so we’ll just have to see how that all works out,” Demings said.

Two Central Florida school boards submitted letters Thursday responding to the state’s 48-hour notice to comply with mask requirements. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran recommended that if the school boards do not comply once they are given the 48-hour notice, then they would be penalized financially in an amount equal to the monthly salaries of board members.

The school boards from Brevard and Orange counties provided the state Board of Education with information on the salaries of their board members in their letters replying to the notice.

[READ THE LAST COVID-19 REPORT: Florida averages 3,684 daily COVID cases, positivity rate drops below 5%]

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Oct. 15.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 19,519 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 3,620,562 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 2,788 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.

Deaths

Florida reported 123 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 57,859 actually shows there have been 1,192 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 show 2,870 adult and 57 pediatric patients in Florida.

Positivity rate

The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 3.8% 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 13,790,455 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, 60,521 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 Oct. 8 - Oct. 14, 2021.

CountyTotal cases as of Oct. 14New cases since Oct. 8Total people vaccinatedPercent of 12+ population vaccinated
Brevard80,128370365,51568%
Flagler14,2547072,30669%
Lake53,868384227,29169%
Marion56,318313205,26063%
Orange226,2281,318926,57674%
Osceola70,989411270,59580%
Polk127,470672400,40165%
Seminole61,582370291,36469%
Sumter14,3699396,54774%
Volusia74,698479318,61865%

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About the Author:

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