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Florida adds 37,772 COVID cases, 1,719 deaths in past week

Vaccination rates plummet as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and KINFAY MOROTI | Times ] ]
Published Oct. 2

Florida reports 37,772 coronavirus cases over the seven-day period from Sept. 24-30, an average of about 5,400 infections per day. The data released Friday shows a 33 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 3,576,571 since the pandemic’s first two cases in Florida were reported 19 months ago on March 1, 2020.

Related: Florida COVID vaccinations plummet as delta variant toll wanes

The state added 1,719 deaths since the previous week’s report. This brings the total statewide number of pandemic deaths to 55,299 The report indicates that 233 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: USF experts urge pregnant women to get vaccinated, debunk COVID misinformation

Vaccinations: Florida administered 278,891 vaccine doses in the past week, including 108,569 people who received either Pfizer booster shots or third doses given to those already vaccinated.

But first doses fell to 63,803, a 62 percent drop from four weeks ago. It’s the fewest first doses administered since early January, when the first doses were being given to a select few.

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: U.S. COVID cases falling, but hospitals brace for winter wave

Vaccination rates are highest among Florida’s older adults. It is 86 percent for Floridians 65 and older and 83 percent of those ages 60-64, according to state data.

Children and young adults remain the least-vaccinated age groups. Ages 12-19 are 54 percent vaccinated, ages 20-29 are 53 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, 67 percent; in Pasco, 66 percent; in Manatee, 67 percent; in Polk, 64 percent; in Hernando, 59 percent; and in Citrus, 59 percent.

Related: She has Down syndrome, then got COVID. Could Amanda Hall learn to walk again?

Positivity: Florida’s positivity rate fell to 6.5 percent in the past week, down from 8.6 percent the prior week. Positivity rates were highest among ages 12-to-19, with 8.5 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 8.1 percent in Hillsborough, 6.8 percent in Pinellas, 9.6 percent in Pasco, 7.8 percent in Manatee, 8.6 percent in Polk, 10.2 percent in Hernando and 8.7 percent in Citrus.

Related: U.S. school board group seeks help policing threats in states including Florida

Hospitalizations: Florida had 5,146 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, down 28 percent from last week.

The Tampa Bay area saw 1,627 hospital admissions from Sept 20-26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hillsborough County hospitals had 485 admissions, Pinellas had 437admissions, Pasco had 185 admissions, Manatee had 93 admissions, Polk had 307 admissions, Hernando had 65 admissions and Citrus had 55 admissions.

Local numbers: Tampa Bay added 8,318 cases in the past week, bringing the area total up to 682,381 cases.

As of Thursday’s count, Hillsborough added 2,780 new cases, Pinellas had 1,554 cases, Pasco had 1,135 cases, Manatee had 770 cases, Polk had 1,455 cases, Hernando had 378 cases and Citrus had 246 cases.

The CDC reported that The Tampa Bay area had 506 deaths between Sept 20-26. Hillsborough saw 93 deaths, Pinellas has 109 deaths, Pasco had 80 deaths, Manatee had 39 deaths, Polk had 113 deaths, Hernando 44 deaths and Citrus had 28 deaths.

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