ORLANDO, Fla. – The U.S. on Thursday announced a sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandate that will require workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus if they work at a company with more than 100 employees.
The order from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration comes in conjunction with an order from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which will require healthcare workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated.
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“While I would have much preferred that requirements not become necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.
In response, Gov. Ron DeSantis formally announced that Florida would be presenting a legal challenge to OSHA’s order. The governor said the lawsuit will be filed Friday after the rule is published. He added the state would also file a motion to stay the order while it is litigated in the 11th Circuit Court.
A judge also sided with DeSantis on Friday, rejecting a challenge filed by school boards against a Florida Department of Health rule preventing student mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was cleared for children 5-11, marking the first opportunity children younger than 12 are able to be vaccinated against the virus. It is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for the age group.
Once the Pfizer vaccine was approved for the age group, Orange County Public Schools announced several vaccination events for students and families in the next week.
Orange County leaders also said vaccines will be available to the age group in pharmacies, supermarkets and pediatrician’s offices.
Moderna also announced this week it was notified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that a decision would be delayed on its COVID-19 vaccine for children 12-17 while regulators continue studying the rare risk of heart inflammation. The company also said it would delay filing its emergency use authorization request for a lower dose of its vaccine for kids 6-11.
Dr. Raul Pino, of the Florida Department of Health said Orange County, said the county is teaming up with third-party provider Health Hero, which will allow the state to pay for all the COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed in schools across the county.
“Different providers will get different vaccines on different dates,” Pino said. “The health department for the immunization clinic is getting 5,000 doses and that should be on (Nov. 8 or Nov. 9). We already got the ... syringes, the gloves and everything that comes with it.”
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Nov. 5.
The Florida Department of Health reported 11,069 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 3,657,775 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 1,581 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 39 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 60,334 actually shows there have been 664 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 1,396 adult and 21 pediatric patients in Florida.
The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 2.6% 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 13,997,374 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, 56,500 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. 29 - Nov. 4, 2021.
|County||Total cases as of Nov. 4||New cases since Oct. 29||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 12+ population vaccinated|