Florida averages 17,886 daily COVID cases as omicron variant fuels new infections

State set new pandemic record, reporting nearly 32K cases in one day

The wait for COVID-19 testing at Barnett Park in Orlando was up to two hours on Monday. (Nadeen Yanes, Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The number of new COVID-19 cases in Florida has more than quadrupled, according to the latest report from the state’s department of health.

The state reported 125,201 new cases on Friday in a one-week period as the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread. The previous week’s numbers showed about 30,000 cases across the state.

Demand for COVID-19 testing is ramping up in Florida and nationwide, leading to the reopening of a site in Orange County. County health officials reopened Econ Soccer Complex as a drive-thru test site as COVID-19 cases and concerns surrounding the omicron variant continue to rise in Central Florida.

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Florida set a pandemic record for new COVID-19 cases in a day, reporting nearly 32,000 cases Thursday and surpassing the previous high set on Aug. 27 when about 28,000 new cases were reported according to the CDC.

The rise in cases is being fueled by the omicron variant, living up to predictions about how contagious it is though it is still not yet known whether it causes more severe disease though studies are showing early hints it may be milder than the delta variant. Last week, federal health officials named it the dominant variant in the U.S.

Booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine show an extra dose of Pfizer or Moderna produces virus-fighting antibodies capable of tackling omicron, according to new lab tests. Antibody levels naturally drop over time, and a booster revved them back up again, by 25 times for Pfizer’s extra shot and 37 times for Moderna’s. No one knows exactly what level is high enough or how long it will be before antibody levels begin dropping again.

In preparation for a possible surge in hospitalizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new emergency guidance for healthcare workers.

The CDC now says any healthcare worker who has COVID-19 and is asymptomatic can return to work after seven days with a negative test. Any healthcare worker who has received a COVID-19 vaccine and the booster does not need to quarantine at home following high-risk exposures, according to the new CDC guidance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Dec. 24:

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 125,201 new cases on Friday that occurred between Dec. 17 and Dec. 23, bringing the state’s overall total to 3,864,213 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 17,886 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 28 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 62,342 actually shows there have been 122 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 2,019 adult and 56 pediatric patients in Florida.

Positivity rate

The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 13.8% 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 14,772,805 have received at least one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, this is about 70% of the state.

During the past week, 111,990 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 Dec. 17- Dec. 23, 2021.

CountyTotal cases as of Dec. 23New cases since Dec. 17Total people vaccinatedPercent of 5+ population vaccinated
Brevard83,6481,216392,77667%
Flagler14,94817276,19668%
Lake56,730694240,41367%
Marion58,099363217,24461%
Orange240,0206,7641,004,30473%
Osceola75,2921,848294,83078%
Polk132,8091,792429,43963%
Seminole65,6651,579310,06867%
Sumter15,017100101,05975%
Volusia78,979999337,64764%

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.

Correction:

A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the average number of daily COVID-19 cases. The correct average number is 1,581 daily cases. We apologize for any confusion.


About the Author:

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