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Florida’s COVID case count hit a high for the second time in a week when the state recorded 22,783 cases in a single day.
The daily case count on Thursday, a sign the virus continues to spread, breaks the previous record of 21,683 cases reported last Friday. It also represents a 33% increase from last week.
In addition, Broward County’s hospitals admitted the most COVID patients of any county in the country over the past seven days — 1,470 patients, according to a White House report.
The test positivity rate for the week rose from 18.1% to 18.9%, according to the weekly report released Friday by the Florida Department of Health. Although this is not a large increase, it’s running in the wrong direction for a state struggling with the highest case totals in the United States.
The total number of people vaccinated in Florida rose by nearly 350,000 this week, raising the share of the state’s population that has received at least one dose from 61% to 63%.
The state reported an additional 175 deaths for the week. But the cumulative COVID death toll swelled by a total of 616 this week, representing deaths that may have occurred weeks earlier but have now been confirmed and added to the total.
Florida’s COVID death toll now stands at 39,695, up from last week’s total of 39,079.
In total, more than 2.7 million people in Florida have tested positive for COVID.
Here are South Florida’s totals for the week:
- Palm Beach County reported 7,787 additional cases, up from 5,948 a week prior. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 170,682.
- Broward County reported 12,590 additional cases, up from 9,094 a week prior. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 280,980.
- Miami-Dade County reported 19,639 additional cases, up from 15,541 a week prior. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 562,190.
The average daily hospitalizations among adults ages 18-39 have increased about 150% in the past two weeks, according to U.S. Health and Human Services data.
On Friday, 13,427 people were admitted, surpassing Thursday’s all-time high of 12,888 COVID patients.
Hospitals announced the surge of patients is taxing their staff and in some cases their supplies. Across Florida, health systems are suspending elective surgeries, restricting on visitors and even mandating vaccines for employees. Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood has reached out to the federal and state government for more oxygen and ventilators. Jackson Health in Miami has joined Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale in requiring all employees to get vaccinated.
“COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida have doubled in the last two weeks, with younger healthier individuals getting COVID-19 and being hospitalized,” said Mary C. Mayhew, president of the Florida Hospital Association, in a statement. “Of the more than 10.5 million fully vaccinated Floridians, approximately 0.019% are currently in our hospitals being treated for COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccination is clearly a lifesaver.”
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Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health, said Thursday that 60% of the health system’s 13,000 plus employees are vaccinated. “Given the dire situation we are facing, this is way too low,” he said.
More children are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Florida than in any other state, a worrisome trend in an age group considered to be the least vulnerable to severe outcomes from the disease. A total of 46 pediatric patients were admitted to a Florida hospital with a confirmed infection while an additional 22 were hospitalized with a suspected case. Only children 12 and older are eligible for the vaccine.
Public health experts say the virus is considered under control when the COVID-19 test positivity rate is under 5%. Florida often has exceeded 5% in its widely publicized calculation for assessing the rate for testing of residents.
The state reported a positivity rate of 18.9% on Friday, compared to 18.1% a week earlier This method of calculating positivity counts new infections only but also counts repeat negative tests, which skews the figure downward.
In Broward County, the new case positivity rate was 15.9%, up from 14% a week earlier, in Palm Beach County it was 17.1%, up from 15.5% the previous week, and in Miami-Dade County it was 12.7%, up from 12.1% last week.