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Florida COVID cases jump 53%. Tampa Bay transmission levels rise.

The COVID-19 pandemic by the numbers in Florida covering the period of May 14-20:
The American flag flies at half-staff at the White House in Washington on Thursday as the Biden administration commemorates 1 million American lives lost due to COVID-19.
The American flag flies at half-staff at the White House in Washington on Thursday as the Biden administration commemorates 1 million American lives lost due to COVID-19. [ SUSAN WALSH | AP ]
Published May 20|Updated May 21
  • Florida’s average daily COVID-19 cases have jumped 53% in the past week, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. It’s the largest week-to-week increase in the state since the peak of the omicron wave in January. Hospitalizations increased by over 20% over the same seven-day period, from May 14-20. Infections and hospitalizations are still low relative to levels seen during previous waves, and the majority of Florida hospitals are not reporting staffing problems, according to federal data. But the seven-day average of 8,601 cases is the highest since Feb. 14.
  • The Tampa Bay area is at “medium” level of COVID-19 transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Residents who are at high risk of severe illness in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties should wear a mask in indoor public spaces, according to the agency’s three-color coded system. High-risk individuals include the elderly, unvaccinated, and those with preexisting conditions. Those who show symptoms should get tested as soon as possible. If bay area counties reach “high” levels of transmission, then all residents should wear masks indoors.
  • Reinfections are hardly rare, and new research out of South Africa shows how the coronavirus is getting better and better at evading existing immunity. Vaccinations remain highly effective at preventing an infection from turning into a life-threatening illness, but cannot prevent omicron infections. Even a prior infection with the original omicron variant offers little protection against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants currently spreading across Southern Africa, according to two recent studies. Florida has recorded five cases of BA.5, according to variant-tracking organization GISAID.
Related: A third of U.S. should consider wearing masks, officials say
• • •

Overall numbers

60,204: Number of cases reported in Florida over the past week from May 14-20.

8,601: Average cases a day during that seven-day period, a 53% increase from the previous week.

6,058,247: Total number of cases recorded in Florida.

151: Number of deaths reported in the past week.

74,329: Total pandemic deaths in Florida.

Related: Pinellas County jail on lockdown after COVID outbreak
• • •

Vaccinations

42,112: Vaccinations (first or second doses) administered in the past week, down 3% compared to the previous week.

80%: Total Florida population that is at least partially vaccinated.

67%: Total Florida population that is fully vaccinated.

78%: Total U.S. population that is at least partially vaccinated.

67%: Total U.S. population that is fully vaccinated.

31,941: Booster doses administered in Florida in the last week, up 5% compared to the prior week.

27%: Total Florida population that is boosted.

31%: Total U.S. population that is boosted.

Related: The U.S. Postal Service is offering more free COVID tests by mail
• • •

Positivity rates

16.9%: Florida, compared to 13.9% the previous week.

17.3%: Citrus

17.3%: Manatee

15.9%: Hernando

13.6%: Pinellas

13.1%: Hillsborough

13%: Pasco

12.1%: Polk

Related: U.S. suffers 1 million COVID-19 deaths in just over 2 years
• • •

Hospitalizations

1,671: Florida hospitalizations, a 21% increase compared to the prior week.

452: Tampa Bay admissions, a 30% increase compared to the prior week.

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Related: CDC urges Pfizer’s COVID booster for children ages 5 to 11
• • •

Local cases

16,709: Cases in Tampa Bay.

1,110,450: Total cases in Tampa Bay to date.

70: Deaths in Tampa Bay.

• • •

How to get tested

Tampa Bay: The Times can help you find the free, public COVID-19 testing sites in the bay area.

Florida: The Department of Health has a website that lists testing sites in the state. Some information may be out of date.

The U.S.: The Department of Health and Human Services has a website that can help you find a testing site.

• • •

How to get vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and up and booster shots for eligible recipients are being administered at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and public vaccination sites. Many allow appointments to be booked online. Here’s how to find a site near you:

Find a site: Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites in your ZIP code.

More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.

Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.

TTY: 888-720-7489

Disability Information and Access Line: Call 888-677-1199 or email DIAL@n4a.org.

• • •

More coronavirus coverage

OMICRON VARIANT: Omicron changed what we know about COVID. Here’s the latest on how the infectious COVID-19 variant affects masks, vaccines, boosters and quarantining.

KIDS AND VACCINES: Got questions about vaccinating your kid? Here are some answers.

BOOSTER SHOTS: Confused about which COVID booster to get? This guide will help.

BOOSTER QUESTIONS: Are there side effects? Why do I need it? Here’s the answers to your questions.

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

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