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Tampa Bay still at ‘high’ risk of COVID as students return to school

The COVID-19 pandemic by the numbers in Florida, covering the period of July 29 to Aug. 4.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's community chart on Friday shows many Florida counties are at "high" risk of COVID-19. Those are the ones colored orange. The "medium" risk counties are colored yellow and "low" risk counties are green.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's community chart on Friday shows many Florida counties are at "high" risk of COVID-19. Those are the ones colored orange. The "medium" risk counties are colored yellow and "low" risk counties are green. [ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ]
Published Aug. 5|Updated Aug. 8

Florida averaged 9,383 COVID-19 cases per day during the seven-day period from July 29 to Aug. 4. It’s the first time in nearly two months that average daily cases dipped below 10,000. Hospitalizations, which lag infections, still are elevated across the state, with 4,281 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations on Friday.

Tampa Bay public school students head back to the classroom next week, unmasked and in-person. That’s despite the area’s “high” risk of COVID-19, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis released Thursday.

Federal guidelines recommend that residents in high-risk counties wear a well-fitting mask in indoor spaces — including classrooms — and get tested at the onset of symptoms. The CDC’s guidelines for schools suggest that teachers and students stay at home if they test positive and stay quarantined for 10 days.

A recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine suggests that mandatory vaccination and masking reduced in-class transmission of the virus among Boston University students to essentially zero during the fall 2021 semester.

Children in Florida may not fare so well. Mask mandates are banned in public schools, and less than half of the state’s school-age children are vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

Students also face the far more infectious omicron BA.5 variant, which accounted for nearly 84% of cases in the southeast last week, according to the CDC.

Related: After ankle injury, Tampa Bay man faces $170K in medical bills
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Overall numbers

65,681: Number of cases reported in Florida over the most recent seven-day period from July 22-28.

9,383: Average cases a day during that time period last week, down 10% from the prior week.

6,855,234: Total number of cases recorded in Florida.

482: Number of deaths reported in the past week.

78,047: Total pandemic deaths in Florida.

Related: Florida church archbishop accused of selling bleach as COVID cure extradited to US
• • •

Vaccinations

28,307: Vaccinations (first or second doses) administered in the past week, down 24% 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.

19,239: Booster doses administered in Florida in the last week, down 17% compared to the previous week.

27%: Total Florida population that is boosted.

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

Related: Tampa heart surgeon helped save lives with pioneering procedures
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Positivity rates

23.2%: Florida, no change from the previous week.

29.8%: Hernando

28.8%: Citrus

26.9%: Manatee

25%: Polk

22.6%: Pasco

21%: Hillsborough

20.4%: Pinellas

Related: US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak
• • •

Hospitalizations

4,281: Florida hospitalizations, up 3% compared to the prior week.

1,261: Tampa Bay admissions, down 6% compared to the prior week.

Related: How will restricting access to abortion impact mental health?
• • •

Local cases

14,939: Cases in Tampa Bay, down 1% compared to the prior week.

1,251,788: Total cases in Tampa Bay to date.

121: Deaths in Tampa Bay.

16,355: Total deaths in Tampa Bay to date.

• • •

How to get tested

Florida: The Department of Health has a list of test sites.

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

• • •

How to get vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine is being administered at clinics, doctors’ offices, public health offices and retail pharmacies. 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

SYMPTOMS: Think you might have COVID-19? Here’s a guide to symptoms and treatments.

CHILDREN: Babies and toddlers can now get vaccinated. Here are the answers to your questions.

WARNING: How the CDC’s COVID-19 warning system fails Tampa Bay and Florida.

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