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Florida adds 12,880 COVID cases, 867 deaths in past week

The state’s weekly infection rate reaches its lowest point since May 2020 as the state nears 60,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers.
Florida's weekly coronavirus numbers. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and KINFAY MOROTI | Times ] ]
Published Oct. 29
Updated Oct. 30

Florida reports 12,880 coronavirus cases over the seven-day period from Oct. 22-28, an average of 1,840 infections per day. The data released Friday shows a 15 percent drop in cases from the week before and the lowest weekly infection rate since June.

The latest tally brings the total number of cases up to 3,647,277 since the pandemic’s first two cases in Florida were reported 20 months ago on March 1, 2020.

Related: What is Florida’s plan for coronavirus vaccine boosters?

The state added 867 deaths since the previous report. This brings the total statewide number of pandemic deaths to 59,670. Most of these occurred more than a week ago, as it can take officials two weeks or more to confirm COVID-19-related deaths. The report indicates that 56 deaths occurred between Oct. 22-28, though that number likely will rise as more are confirmed.

The Florida Department of Health announced in June that it no longer would release daily COVID-19 data. Instead, it now releases one report every Friday — but it continues to withhold information that previously was publicly available.

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 just 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: Explainer: Is it time to get a COVID-19 booster? Which one?

VACCINATIONS: Florida administered 117,709 doses in the past week. About 56,000 doses went to first-time recipients. More than 5 million eligible Floridians remain unvaccinated.

As of Thursday, 73 percent of Florida residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state. Nearly 64 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated.

But 37 percent of Florida’s total population remain unvaccinated, including children 11 and under who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine but may be in the coming weeks.

Related: FDA rules have blocked COVID-19 vaccine makers from advertising on TV

Vaccination rates are highest among Florida’s older adults: 89 percent for Floridians 65 and older and 85 percent of those ages 60-64, according to state data.

Children and young adults remain the least-vaccinated age groups. Ages 12-19 are 56 percent vaccinated, ages 20-29 are 55 percent, and ages 30-39 are 64 percent.

In Hillsborough County, 68 percent of residents 12 and up have been vaccinated; in Pinellas, 68 percent; in Pasco, 67 percent; in Manatee, 68 percent; in Polk, 66 percent; in Hernando, 61 percent; and in Citrus, 60 percent.

BOOSTER SHOTS: Florida administered 222,759 booster doses, doubling the number administered the previous week. Booster shots are available to at-risk residents who received their second Pfizer dose at least six months ago. So far, 1,116,459 Florida residents have received a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

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Related: Florida penalizes school districts over mask mandates, federal COVID-19 grants

POSITIVITY: Florida’s rate fell to 3.0 percent in the past week, down from 3.4 percent the week before. Positivity rates were highest among ages 11 and under, with 3.8 percent of tests coming back positive.

Just over 430,000 residents were tested between Oct. 22-28. That’s down more than 50 percent from a peak of 872,000 weekly tests the week of Aug. 20-26.

According to the World Health Organization, states should maintain a positivity rate of 5 percent or less for at least two weeks before fully reopening. 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 3.5 percent in Hillsborough, 2.1 percent in Pinellas, 3.5 percent in Pasco, 3.3 percent in Manatee, 3.4 percent in Polk, 2.4 percent in Hernando and 3.4 percent in Citrus.

Related: FDA paves way for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations in kids ages 5-11

HOSPITALIZATIONS: Florida had 1,837 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospital as of Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, down 18 percent from last week.

The Tampa Bay area saw 655 hospital admissions from Oct. 18-24, the latest data available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hillsborough County hospitals had 212 admissions, Pinellas had 207, Pasco 53, Manatee 29, Polk 126, Hernando 17 and Citrus 11.

LOCAL NUMBERS: Tampa Bay added 2,329 cases in the past week, bringing the area total up to 697,144 cases.

As of Thursday’s count, Hillsborough added 887 new cases, Pinellas had 397, Pasco 278, Manatee 222, Polk 413, Hernando 63 and Citrus 69.

The CDC reported that the Tampa Bay area had 235 deaths from Oct. 18-24: Hillsborough counted 30; Pinellas 42; Pasco 28; Manatee 35; Polk 51; Hernando 24; and Citrus 25.

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

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SENIORS AND COVID: Here’s how seniors can stay safe from the virus.

IT'S FLU SEASON: Get a flu shot and the COVID vaccine to avoid a ‘twindemic.’

VACCINES Q&A: Have coronavirus vaccine questions? We have answers, Florida.

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A TRIBUTE TO FLORIDIANS TAKEN BY THE CORONAVIRUS: They were parents and retirees, police officer and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply.

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