ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida recently shuttered its state-run monoclonal sites following the Food and Drug Administration’s decision on Monday to revise the emergency use authorization for two monoclonal antibody treatments used in patients with COVID-19.
This would reserve the treatments for those infected with any variant except omicron, a decision Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis deems “bad for patients.” The treatments in question are REGEN-COV, called Regeneron after the company that makes it, and bamlanivimab and etesevimab, made by Eli Lilly.
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The FDA said the decision stemmed from accumulating research that says these two treatments are ineffective against the omicron variant. Both Regeneron and Eli Lilly also note a drop in effectiveness for their treatments against omicron.
This precedes Moderna announcing Wednesday that the company is beginning to test omicron-specific COVID-19 booster shots in healthy adults.
While the Biden administration officially withdrew a rule Tuesday that would have required workers at big companies to get vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 regularly, health care workers in about half the states, including Florida, faced a deadline Thursday to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine under a new mandate.
The requirement is first taking effect in states that didn’t challenge the ruling in court — like California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania — before being rolled out throughout the rest of the country in the coming weeks.
Orange County Public Schools also announced earlier this week that starting next Monday, the district will no longer be able to provide excused absences for students over COVID-19 concerns. This comes as district officials report the number of COVID-19 cases in the county’s schools declining.
Despite the new policy, school leaders said they will continue to require adults and strongly encourage students to wear masks on campus. They added the mask mandate for adults would be extended through February.
This comes as pharmacies begin to receive shipments of free N95 masks provided by the Biden administration, which will be distributed to those interested on a first-come, first-served basis. Locations like CVS, Walgreens and Southeastern Grocers are giving out up to three masks per individual. The 400 million masks set to be distributed come from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile.
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Jan. 28:
The Florida Department of Health reported 198,719 new cases on Friday that occurred between Jan. 21 and Jan. 27, bringing the state’s overall total to 5,478,671 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.
Florida reported 206 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week with a cumulative death toll of 64,955.
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 9,511 adult and 179 pediatric patients in Florida.
The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 23.5% 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 15,191,315 have received at least one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, this is about 73% of the state.
During the past week, 37,514 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 Jan. 21- Jan. 27.
|County||Total cases as of Jan. 27||New cases since Jan. 21||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 5+ population vaccinated|