Florida adds 56,325 COVID cases, 2,340 deaths in past week

Coronavirus deaths fall for the first time in months. Cases and hospitalizations are also down — but so are vaccinations.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and KINFAY MOROTI | Times ] ]
Published Sept. 25, 2021

Florida reports 56,325 coronavirus cases over the seven-day period from Sept. 17-23, an average of about 8,000 infections per day. The data released Friday shows a 26 percent drop in cases from the week before and the lowest weekly infection rate since early July.

The latest tally brings the total number of cases up to 3,539,272 since the pandemic’s first two cases in Florida were reported nearly 19 months ago on March 1, 2020.

Related: COVID-19 deaths, infections continue to fall in Florida

The state added 2,340 deaths since the previous week’s report, 128 fewer than the previous week.

This brings the total statewide number of pandemic deaths to 56,325. The report indicates that 355 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 it 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 the identification of emerging trends.

Related: Children face racial disparities as COVID-19 infections rise

Vaccinations: Florida administered 273,756 vaccine doses in the past week, including to 152,479 people who are now fully inoculated against the coronavirus.

It’s a 20 percent drop in vaccines administered from the week before. First dose vaccinations fell to the lowest point since the state started weekly reports.

Over 36,000 doses were additional shots given to vaccinated Floridians who are immunocompromised and received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. So far, 319,536 Floridians have received an additional vaccine dose.

As of Thursday, 71 percent of Florida residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state. About 61 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated.

But 38 percent of Florida’s total population is unvaccinated, including children 11 and under who are not eligible to receive the vaccine.

Related: Should you get a Pfizer COVID booster shot? Here’s what you need to know.

Vaccination rates are highest among Florida’s older adults. Eighty-eight percent of Floridians 65 and older have been vaccinated, and 83 percent of those ages 60-64 have been vaccinated, according to state data.

Younger adults had the largest gains but remain the least vaccinated cohorts in the state. Ages 12-19 are 54 percent vaccinated, ages 20-29 are 52 percent vaccinated, and ages 30-39 are 62 percent vaccinated.

In Hillsborough County, 66 percent of residents 12 and up have been vaccinated; in Pinellas, 66 percent; in Pasco, 65 percent; in Manatee, 67 percent; in Polk, 64 percent; in Hernando, 59 percent; and in Citrus, 59 percent.

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Related: U.S. rolls out Pfizer COVID booster shots for older Americans, high-risk jobs

Positivity: Florida’s positivity rate fell to 8.6 percent in the past week, down from 11.2 percent the prior week. It’s the lowest positivity rate since the first week of July.

Positivity rates were highest among ages 12-to-19, with 11.2 percent of 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 around the Tampa Bay area, where the positivity rate was 9.7 percent in Hillsborough, 7.9 percent in Pinellas, 13.8 percent in Pasco, 10.3 percent in Manatee, 11.4 percent in Polk, 15.6 percent in Hernando and 14.6 percent in Citrus.

Related: COVID has killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu

Hospitalizations: Florida had 7,113 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, down 23 percent from last week. The agency reported 5,790 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted to Florida hospitals from Sept. 17-23.

The Tampa Bay area saw 2,188 hospital admissions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hillsborough County hospitals had 706 admissions, Pinellas had 560 admissions, Pasco had 245 admissions, Manatee had 102 admissions, Polk had 398 admissions, Hernando had 110 admissions and Citrus had 67 admissions.

Local numbers: Tampa Bay added 12,704 cases in the past week, bringing the area total up to 674,072 cases.

As of Thursday’s count, Hillsborough added 3,841 new cases, Pinellas had 2,147 cases, Pasco had 1,851 cases, Manatee had 1,241 cases, Polk had 2,413 cases, Hernando had 692 cases and Citrus had 519 cases.

The CDC reported that The Tampa Bay area had 610 deaths between Sept 13-19. Hillsborough saw 119 deaths, Pinellas has 136 deaths, Pasco had 102 deaths, Manatee had 21 deaths, Polk had 144 deaths, Hernando 33 deaths and Citrus had 55 deaths.

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