Florida officials reported 151,749 coronavirus cases over the seven-day period from Aug. 20-16, an average of nearly 21,700 infections per day. It’s the third week in a row that cases have held steady at about 21,000 cases per day.
During the third week back in school, children led the state in new infections. COVID-19 cases increased by 28 percent among those 19 and under, who now account for one-third of new infections. Meanwhile, cases dropped by 8 percent for those 20 and over.
The latest tally brings the total number of cases up to 3,179,714 since the pandemic’s first two cases in Florida were reported nearly 18 months ago on March 1, 2020.
The state added 1,727 deaths since the previous week’s report, the highest number reported in a single week since the start of the pandemic. This brings the total statewide number of pandemic deaths to 43,979. The report indicates that 389 deaths occurred in the past seven days, but it can take officials up to two weeks to confirm and report a coronavirus-related death.
The Florida Department of Health announced in June 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 state 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.
Vaccinations: Florida administered 461,034 vaccine doses in the past week, including 276,281 who are now fully inoculated against the coronavirus.
As of Thursday, 68 percent of Florida residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state. About 56 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated.
But 41 percent of Florida’s total population is unvaccinated, including children 11 and under who are not eligible to receive the vaccine.
Vaccination rates are highest among Florida’s older adults. Eighty-seven percent of Floridians over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, and 81 percent of those ages 60 to 64 have been vaccinated, according to state data.
Younger adults had the largest gains, but remain the least vaccinated cohorts in the state. Ages 12 to 19 are 29 percent vaccinated, ages 20 to 29 are 48 percent vaccinated, and ages 30 to 39 are 57 percent vaccinated.
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In Hillsborough County, 62 percent of residents age 12 and up have been vaccinated; in Pinellas, 64 percent; in Pasco, 62 percent; in Manatee, 64 percent; in Polk, 59 percent; in Hernando, 56 percent; and in Citrus, 57 percent.
Positivity: Florida’s positivity rate fell to 16.8 percent in the past week, down from 19.8 percent the week before. It’s the first time in seven weeks that positivity rates have fallen. Positivity rates were highest among 12 to 19-year-olds, with 23.1 percent tests coming back positive.
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 fell in the Tampa Bay area, where the positivity rate was 18.9 percent in Hillsborough, 18 percent in Pinellas, 21.2 percent in Pasco, 16.6 percent in Manatee, 23.2 percent in Polk, 25.9 percent in Hernando, and 23.3 percent in Citrus.
Hospitalizations: Florida had 16,146 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s just shy of the record 17,119 hospitalizations reported earlier in the week. DHHS reported that 14,379 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted to Florida hospitals from Aug 21 to Aug 27.
The Tampa Bay area saw 3,483 hospital admissions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hillsborough county hospitals had 1,119 admissions, Pinellas had 826 admissions, Pasco had 382 admissions, Manatee had 204 admissions, Polk had 660 admissions, Hernando had 196 admissions, and Citrus had 96 admissions.
Local numbers: Tampa Bay added 37,112 cases in the past week, bringing the area total up to 587,929 cases. Tampa Bay saw 821 cases per 100,000 residents, 20 percent higher than the statewide infection rate adjusted for population.
As of Thursday’s count, Hillsborough added 11,811 new cases, Pinellas had 6,790 cases, Pasco had 4,433 cases, Manatee had 3,469 cases, Polk had 7,510 cases, Hernando had 2,003 cases, and Citrus had 1,096 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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