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Florida adds 25,792 COVID cases, 1,368 deaths in past week

Infections, hospitalizations and deaths all continue to fall as Florida’s positivity rate drops below 5 percent for the first time since June.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and KINFAY MOROTI | Times ] ]
Published Oct. 9

Florida reports 25,792 coronavirus cases over the seven-day period from Oct. 1-7, an average of about 3,700 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 3,601,755 since the pandemic’s first two cases in Florida were reported 19 months ago on March 1, 2020.

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The state added 1,368 deaths since the previous week’s report. This brings the total statewide number of pandemic deaths to 56,667. The report indicates that 147 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.

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Vaccinations: Florida administered 311,720 vaccine doses in the past week. It’s a 12 percent increase from last week, driven by the 131,218 people who received either Pfizer booster shots or third doses given to those already vaccinated.

Fewer than 68,000 doses went to first-time recipients. It’s a slight improvement over last week, but still down more than 60 percent from the peak five weeks ago.

As of Thursday, 72 percent of Florida residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state. About 63 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: Pfizer asks U.S. to allow COVID shots for kids ages 5 to 11

Vaccination rates are highest among Florida’s older adults. It is 89 percent for Floridians 65 and older and 84 percent of those ages 60-64, according to state data.

Children and young adults remain the least-vaccinated age groups. Ages 12-19 are 55 percent vaccinated, ages 20-29 are 53 percent vaccinated, and ages 30-39 are 63 percent vaccinated.

In Hillsborough County, 67 percent of residents 12 and up have been vaccinated; in Pinellas, 67 percent; in Pasco, 66 percent; in Manatee, 68 percent; in Polk, 65 percent; in Hernando, 60 percent; and in Citrus, 60 percent.

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Positivity: Florida’s positivity rate fell to 4.8 percent in the past week, down from 6.5 percent the prior week. Positivity rates were highest among ages 11 and under, with 6.6 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.

This week marks the first time in 15 weeks that the state’s positivity was under 5 percent.

Positivity fell around the Tampa Bay area, where the positivity rate was 6.1 percent in Hillsborough, 5.2 percent in Pinellas, 6.1 percent in Pasco, 5.8 percent in Manatee, 7 percent in Polk, 5.8 percent in Hernando and 5.3 percent in Citrus.

Related: ‘We are in a crisis’: Tampa Bay child care industry faces pandemic struggles

Hospitalizations: Florida had 3,867 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, down 25 percent from last week.

The Tampa Bay area saw 1,276 hospital admissions from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hillsborough County hospitals had 418 admissions, Pinellas had 329 admissions, Pasco had 133 admissions, Manatee had 52 admissions, Polk had 237 admissions, Hernando had 60 admissions and Citrus had 47 admissions.

Local numbers: Tampa Bay added 5,527 cases in the past week, bringing the area total up to 687,763 cases.

As of Thursday’s count, Hillsborough added 1,916 new cases, Pinellas had 1,078 cases, Pasco had 627 cases, Manatee had 487 cases, Polk had 1,077 cases, Hernando had 188 cases and Citrus had 154 cases.

The CDC reported that the Tampa Bay area had 409 deaths between Sept. 27 and Oct. 3. Hillsborough saw 140 deaths, Pinellas had 70 deaths, Pasco had 51 deaths, Manatee had 14 deaths, Polk had 73 deaths, Hernando had 23 deaths and Citrus had 38 deaths.

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