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Florida adds 129,240 coronavirus cases, 2,345 deaths in past week

COVID-19 fatalities reach new peak as cases, hospitalizations begin to fall.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and KINFAY MOROTI | Times ] ]
Published Sep. 4, 2021|Updated Sep. 4, 2021

Florida officials reported 129,240 coronavirus cases over the seven-day period from Aug. 27 to Sept. 2, an average of nearly 18,500 infections per day. It’s the lowest weekly infection rate in more than a month, and marks a turning point after three weeks with over 21,000 daily infections.

New cases fell for all age groups, but new infections remained concentrated among the Florida’s youngest residents. More than one-third of infections were among those under the age of 20.

The latest tally brings the total number of cases up to 3,308,916 since the pandemic’s first two cases in Florida were reported 18 months ago on March 1, 2020.

Related: Tampa Bay hospitals push COVID vaccine — but won’t mandate it for their workers

The state added 2,345 deaths since the previous week’s report, setting the second consecutive record for highest number reported in a single week since the start of the pandemic. This brings the total statewide number of pandemic deaths to 46,324. The report indicates that 433 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 per week. Although weekly reports can be more reliable than daily updates, experts warn that infrequent data updates may delay identifying emerging trends.

Related: Twelve hours in a Florida COVID-19 ICU

Vaccinations: Florida administered 462,269 vaccine doses in the past week, including 237,047 who are now fully inoculated against the coronavirus.

Nearly 57,000 doses were booster shots, available to those who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine 8 months ago. So far, 178,794 Floridians have gotten an additional dose of vaccine.

As of Thursday, 69 percent of Florida residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state. About 57 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated.

But 40 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 older than 65 have been vaccinated, and 81 percent of those ages 60 to 64 have been vaccinated, according to state data.

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Younger adults had the largest gains but remain the least vaccinated cohorts in the state. Ages 12 to 19 are 50 percent vaccinated, ages 20 to 29 are 49 percent vaccinated, and ages 30 to 39 are 59 percent vaccinated.

In Hillsborough County, 63 percent of residents age 12 and up have been vaccinated; in Pinellas, 65 percent; in Pasco, 63 percent; in Manatee, 65 percent; in Polk, 61 percent; in Hernando, 57 percent; and in Citrus, 58 percent.

Related: Booster shots hitch: Some may miss the Sept. 20 start for 3rd vaccine dose

Positivity: Florida’s positivity rate fell to 15.2 percent in the past week, down from 16.8 percent the week before. Positivity rates were highest among 12- to 19-year-olds, with 21.1 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 17.4 percent in Hillsborough, 16.3 percent in Pinellas, 16.3 percent in Pasco, 16.6 percent in Manatee, 19.6 percent in Polk, 19.9 percent in Hernando, and 22.8 percent in Citrus.

Related: U.S. hospitals hit with nurse staffing crisis amid COVID

Hospitalizations: Florida had 14,279 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, down 12 percent from last week. DHHS reported that 12,153 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted to Florida hospitals from Aug 27 to Sept 2.

The Tampa Bay area saw 3,389 hospital admissions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hillsborough County hospitals had 1,093 admissions, Pinellas had 771 admissions, Pasco had 396 admissions, Manatee had 194 admissions, Polk had 684 admissions, Hernando had 169 admissions, and Citrus had 82 admissions.

Local numbers: Tampa Bay added 30,911 cases in the past week, bringing the area total up to 618,892 cases. Tampa Bay saw 684 cases per 100,000 residents, 16 percent higher than the statewide infection rate adjusted for population.

As of Thursday’s count, Hillsborough added 9,773 new cases, Pinellas had 5,693 cases, Pasco had 3,840 cases, Manatee had 3,062 cases, Polk had 6,174 cases, Hernando had 1,303 cases, and Citrus had 1,066 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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