BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The rate of COVID-19 infections has seen a slight increase and vaccination rates have stalled, Brevard County officials said during a year-end COVID-19 update Friday morning.
Officials with Brevard County Emergency Management, Brevard County Public Safety and the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County noted that the county once again has been labeled as a community of “substantial transmission,” according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9, the Space Coast had a new case positivity rate of 2.7% and 50.1 cases per 100,000, marking an increase of 7.2 cases per 100,000 since the prior week.
Though Brevard County’s new case positivity rate is under 8%, the cases per 100,000 rate rated the Space Coast as one of ‘substantial transmission’, according to CDC transmission levels.
“So the recommendations in that category are that folks mask in public indoor spaces. Again, we urge vaccination for those that haven’t been vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated, we urge you to get the booster dose ... and continue to use those mitigation measures we know work,” said John Davis, the county’s community health nursing director with the Florida Department of Health.
Despite the “substantial transmission” designation, Davis said hospitalization of patients with COVID-19 remain low, though there has been a slight increase in recent days.
“Our hospitals were experiencing low census of positive COVID throughout November and had actually gone to levels that we last on the spring of 2020,” Davis said. “There have been a slight increase of positive COVID patients in the hospital. In terms of our daily cases. We are starting to see a rise. We’ve essentially doubled from the beginning of the week to the end of this week.”
Davis lamented that vaccination rates for the county have not seen any dramatic movement.
“Vaccination coverage for our county population, essentially that’s at a standstill, unfortunately. Right now with our 5 to 11-year-olds, we’re at about 11% of that population that’s received at least one dose of the vaccine. Our 12- to 19-year-olds are at 49% coverage, at this point.”
He added that the vast majority of the people getting the jab are those who are receiving their booster shot.
In addition to encouraging vaccination, John Scott, the director of emergency management for Brevard County, noted that the monoclonal antibody treatment remains available within the county. However, he noted that the location for the treatment has changed, as well as the criteria for receiving it.
“We have moved it from Kiwanis Park to basically what is the corner of Barton (Boulevard) and Fiske (Boulevard) in Rockledge,” Scott said. “There’s an additional criteria change. If you remember before the criteria was anyone who tested COVID positive or thought they had a close contact exposure and were themselves immunocompromised, however, due to nationwide shortage when it comes to the monoclonal treatment they have moved to you must now be COVID positive to get treatment.”
Scott added that any type of positive COVID test would be allowed to qualify a patient for the treatment.