On the day President-elect Joe Biden received his first coronavirus vaccination on live television — an act meant to encourage and reassure Americans that vaccines are safe — the Florida Department of Health reported another 115 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours.
Those deaths bring Florida’s overall death toll to 20,976. Monday’s report also added 11,015 known infections to the state’s overall caseload which is now 1,212,581.
Only two other states —Texas and California — have caseloads exceeding 1 million coronavirus infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The three states also are the most populous.
Heading into Christmas week, coronavirus infections and deaths have continued to climb nationwide, according to the CDC.
By Monday afternoon, the U.S. had tallied 17,947,644 infections and at least 318,602 deaths from the virus. More than 18,000 Americans died from the coronavirus in the last week, the CDC said, and hospitals are reaching capacity as the nation continues to average more than 219,000 new COVID-19 infections per day.
Despite the surge and renewed public health warnings against traveling over the holidays, Sunday was the third day in a row that the Transportation Security Administration reported more than one million travelers have passed through airport security checkpoints.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected nearly 77.2 million people and killed at least 1.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. London and parts of southeastern England went back under a strict lockdown on Saturday that’s expected to last into the new year. That’s after scientists identified a new strain of the virus in England proven to spread faster. By Monday afternoon, more than 30 nations had banned travel to and from the U.K.
Vaccinations: Florida’s hospitals began administering the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last week, and by Monday afternoon had inoculated 43,716 people according to a new state report — and 1,873 people in the last 24 hours.
That’s up from the 32,707 vaccinations released to the public on Saturday in the state’s first ever report on the vaccination effort.
It was not known if the report will distinguish between the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines, the latter which was approved for emergency use Sunday and expected to be in state hospitals by Monday.
Hillsborough County led the Tampa Bay region with 4,630 vaccinations overall, which was also the fourth-highest in the state. Pinellas had 3054, Pasco had 547, Polk had 396, Manatee had 67, Hernando had 38 and Citrus had 15.
None, however, have received the second required shot. That should occur about 21 days after the first dose. Anyone who receives the first dose will not be considered “fully immunized” until they receive the second.
Millions of healthcare workers and the residents of long-term care facilities will get vaccinated first. Next up will be essential workers, including firefighters, paramedics and police officers.
Hospitalizations: By Monday afternoon, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration reported 5,508 people across Florida were in the hospital with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.
Tampa Bay hospitals reported 1,122 coronavirus patients, up from 1,061 yesterday.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a total of 60,152 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness, according to the health department.
Statewide, about 23 percent of regular hospital beds and 20.5 percent of beds in adult intensive care units were available for new patients on Monday. In the Tampa Bay area, roughly 21 percent of regular hospital beds and 20 percent of adult ICU beds were empty.
The number of coronavirus infections, deaths and hospitalizations has steadily increased in Florida since October. That’s after a weeks-long plateau of around 2,000 hospitalizations a day this fall.
Positivity: Florida’s average weekly positivity rate has remained around 8 percent this month and was 9.72 percent on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The university recently changed its standards to align more closely with the Florida Department of Health’s measure. Still, Florida is one of 49 states above the World Health Organization’s recommended positivity rate of 5 percent or below. According to Johns Hopkins, only Vermont, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia fall below that threshold.
A high positivity rate can indicate there’s not enough testing in a given area to capture mild and asymptomatic cases. As testing increases, the positivity rate usually decreases.
According to the state’s calculations, Florida’s weekly average positivity rate for new cases was 8.45 percent on Monday — up from 7.91 percent on Sunday and 8.35 percent on Saturday — and has ranged from 7.98 percent to 9.75 percent in the past two weeks.
Those results came from 145,728 coronavirus tests processed by the state in the past 24 hours.
Local numbers: The Tampa Bay region reported 2,249 coronavirus cases and 24 deaths on Monday.
Hernando was the only county in the region without any new fatalities to report. Hillsborough County reported eight deaths on Monday, Pasco reported five, Citrus and Polk reported four each, Pinellas reported two and Manatee reported one death.
Citrus County’s weekly average positivity rate led the region at 10.7 percent, followed by Polk at 10.5 percent, Pasco at 9.9 percent, Hillsborough at 9.5 percent, Hernando at 9.2 percent, Manatee at 8 percent and Pinellas at 7.3 percent.
As of Monday, Hillsborough County has reported 70,849 coronavirus cases and 1,041 deaths, Pinellas has 40,987 cases and 1,006 deaths, Polk has 33,741 cases and 755 deaths, Manatee has 20,355 cases and 410 deaths, Pasco has 19,787 cases and 410 deaths, Hernando has 6,615 cases and 255 deaths, and Citrus has 6,050 cases and 225 deaths.
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How fast is the number of Florida COVID-19 cases growing?
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Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?
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Florida coronavirus cases by age group
Doctors say older people are at a greater risk to developing severe symptoms from COVID-19, which makes Florida especially vulnerable.
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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage
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