Florida averages 2,021 daily COVID cases as US outlines plan to return to normal

White House releases National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

FILE The AMC Empire 25 theater reopens after COVID-19 closures, March 5, 2021, in New York. New York Mayor Eric Adams has said he plans to lift mask requirements in schools and vaccination mandates in restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters and other cultural and entertainment venues, by March 7, 2022, with a final decision to come Friday, March 4, 2022, on the timing of the rollback. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File) (Evan Agostini, 2021 Invision)

ORLANDO, Fla. – President Joe Biden declared during his State of the Union address that it is time for “Americans to get back to work,” highlighting progress made on the pandemic in the last year, with more tests and vaccines available to communities.

“Tonight, I can say we are moving forward safely, back to more normal routines,” Biden said. “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

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The White House outlined a strategy to allow people to return to normal activities safely in a new National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.

The 90-page plan spells out initiatives and investments to continue to drive down serious illness and deaths from the virus, while preparing for potential new variants and providing employers and schools the resources to remain open. A main part of the plan is a new “test to treat” plan to provide free antiviral pills at pharmacies for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced during a Thursday COVID-19 update that the county’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is 6.4%, relaxing the mask mandate for county employees, except for workers at correctional and health facilities. The county’s COVID-19 testing sites will stay open, as will the vaccine site at Barnett Park. About 76% of residents ages 5 and older have had one or more shots of the COVID vaccine.

Disney Cruise Line is also making face coverings optional for guests starting next week. Disney Cruise Line has had a facial covering requirement for all guests, while indoors since the cruise line restarted following a monthslong shutdown.

As many areas roll back mask guidelines, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke in Tampa where he admonished a group of high school students for wearing face masks at an indoor news conference.

“You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve got to stop with this COVID theater. So if you wanna wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous,” he said.

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on March 4:

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 14,148 new cases on Friday that occurred between Feb. 25 and March 3, bringing the state’s overall total to 5,814,517 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.

Deaths

Florida reported 99 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 70,997 actually shows there have been 1,207 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 from March 1 show 2,269 adult and 53 pediatric patients in Florida.

Positivity rate

The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 3.3% 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 2,134,033 have received at least one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, this is about 74% of the state.

During the past week, 10,460 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 Feb. 25 - March 3.

CountyTotal cases as of Mar. 3New cases since Feb. 25Total people vaccinatedPercent of 5+ population vaccinated
Brevard132,397360408,43070%
Flagler22,1436978,51870%
Lake84,412249248,65169%
Marion82,909235224,81963%
Orange372,7771,1241,057,87877%
Osceola112,508316312,16583%
Polk198,831460450,19666%
Seminole102,755282322,70670%
Sumter21,466121102,93476%
Volusia115,798370348,85566%

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


About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.