ORLANDO, Fla. – Following U.S. health officials’ approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for younger children, Central Florida counties began rolling out vaccinations for kids 5-11 this week.
To prepare for the new age group, Orange County health officials announced Wednesday it would expand operations at the Barnett Park vaccination site to include hours geared toward younger kids. Starting this weekend, the site will offer the Pfizer vaccine Saturdays and Sundays.
Barnett Park has established an indoor space at the administration building on site, which is equipped for the vaccine to be administered with the comfort and safety of children and families in mind, Orange County said in a release.
Orange County Public Schools announced face masks would be optional for all district employees, citing the drop in COVID-19 cases across the county as well as the local state of emergency being lifted by Mayor Jerry Demings.
Nationwide, several states are suing the federal government to try and block a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for healthcare workers, according to the Associated Press.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pledge to put up a fight against the federal vaccine mandate issued by President Joe Biden has created a conflict within the state’s healthcare system. The federal vaccine mandate requires companies with 100 or more employees to vaccinate their staff by Jan. 4. However, some Republican state leaders rolled out some bills that could complicate the federal guidance.
The bills will be filed on Monday when the Florida legislature reconvenes for a special session. If the measure becomes law, employers who terminate their employees over their vaccination status could face up to $50,000 in fines per violation.
The special session will continue no later than Nov. 19. DeSantis said the session would aim to help Floridians who have lost their jobs or can potentially lose their jobs when not complying with a vaccine mandate.
“Your right to earn a living should not be contingent upon COVID shots,” DeSantis said in a statement . “We have somehow gone from 15 days to slow the spread to (three) jabs to keep your job. In Florida, we believe that the decision whether or not to get a COVID shot is a choice based on individual circumstances, so we are litigating against the Biden Administration and will be passing legislation in this Special Session to protect Florida jobs and protect parents’ rights when it comes to masking and quarantines.”
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Nov. 12.
The Florida Department of Health reported 10,746 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 3,668,077 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 1,535 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 33 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 60,697 actually shows there have been 363 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 1,155 adult and 20 pediatric patients in Florida.
The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 2.5% 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 14,043,681 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, 109,459 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 Nov. 5 - Nov. 11, 2021.
|County||Total cases as of Nov. 11||New cases since Nov. 5||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 5+ population vaccinated|