Florida officials reported 73,199 coronavirus cases over the seven-day period from July 16 to July 22. That is 60 percent more weekly cases than the last reporting period and three times higher than the number of cases reported two weeks ago.
The state has not seen weekly infections this high since Feb. 5.
That brings the total number of cases up to 2,479,975 since the pandemic’s first two cases in Florida were reported on March 1, 2020, more than 16 months ago.
The state added 282 deaths since the previous week’s report, bringing the total statewide number of pandemic deaths to 38,670. It can take officials up to two weeks to confirm and report a coronavirus-related death.
The Florida Department of Health announced last month that it would no longer release daily COVID-19 data. Instead, it is now releasing a weekly report every Friday, but withholds information that was publicly available before.
As of June 4, the state no longer reports non-resident vaccinations, coronavirus cases and fatalities. The Florida Department of Health has declined repeated requests to provide non-resident data to the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida is the only state that updates its coronavirus caseloads and data once a week. Although weekly reports can be more reliable than daily updates, experts warn that infrequent data updates may delay identifying emerging trends.
Despite the recent spike in cases, the state has not intention of returning to weekly reports, wrote Gov. Ron DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw in an email. “Anyone who is worried about COVID should get vaccinated,” she said. “The data shows us that vaccination is very effective at preventing serious illness.”
Vaccinations: Florida administered 245,954 doses of vaccine in the past week. The number of first doses administered dropped to 103,909, the seventh consecutive week that first-dose vaccines have fallen.
So far 60 percent of Florida residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state. That’s the same percentage the state reported last week. Nearly 52 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated.
Vaccination rates are highest among Florida’s older adults. More than 84 percent of Floridians over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, and 75 percent of those ages 60 to 64 have been vaccinated, according to state data. Meanwhile, vaccination rates for those under 40 remain low. Only 35 percent of those 12 to 19 are vaccinated, while 39 percent of those 20 to 29 and 47 percent of those 30 to 39 have received the vaccine.
In Hillsborough County, 55 percent of residents age 12 and up have been vaccinated; in Pinellas, 58 percent; in Pasco, 55 percent; in Manatee, 58 percent; in Polk, 51 percent; in Hernando, 49 percent; and in Citrus, 52 percent.
Positivity: Florida’s positivity rate rose to 15.1 percent in the past week, up from 11.5 percent the week before, and nearly double the rate from two weeks earlier.
Before reopening, states should maintain a positivity rate of 5 percent or less for at least two weeks, according to the World Health Organization. A positivity rate of 5 percent or less indicates testing is widespread enough to capture mild, asymptomatic and negative cases.
Positivity rates were up for the third week in a row in the Tampa Bay area, where the positivity rate was 18.1 percent in Hillsborough, 14.1 percent in Pinellas, 18.5 percent in Pasco, 15.4 percent in Manatee, 18.6 percent in Polk, 17.8 percent in Hernando, and 15.3 percent in Citrus.
Hospitalizations: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 5,548 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted to Florida hospitals from July 15 to July 21. That’s an increase of nearly 1,900 new hospitalizations compared the week before, and double the number of hospitalizations reported two weeks ago.
The Tampa Bay area saw 1,117 hospital admissions from July 15 to July 21. Hillsborough county hospitals had 353 admissions, Pinellas had 282 admissions, Pasco had 104 admissions, Manatee had 41 admissions, Polk had 268 admissions, Hernando had 48 admissions, and Citrus had 21 admissions.
Local numbers: Tampa Bay added 13,864 cases in the past week, nearly doubling the weekly cases for the second week in a row. This brings the total number of cases in the Tampa Bay area to 434,325.
As of Thursday’s count, Hillsborough added 5,168 new cases, Pinellas had 2,678 cases, Pasco had 1,636 cases, Manatee had 998 cases, Polk had 2,514 cases, Hernando had 558 cases, and Citrus had 312 cases.
The state no longer reports deaths by county. According to CDC data, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties each recorded fewer than 10 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the past week. The federal agency does not report exact deaths by county when the count is under 10.
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