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The number of COVID-19 cases across the state and in South Florida declined to less than half the level of two weeks ago, Florida’s weekly report shows. But new deaths continue to rise as the full toll of the omicron wave is becoming more apparent.
On Friday, Florida reported 132,622 new cases for the past seven days, a drop from 198,719 new cases a week ago and 289,204 two weeks ago.
In another encouraging sign, the positivity rate declined this week, too, dropping to 18% from 23.5% last week.
But as evidence that omicron proved severe for some individuals, the death toll rose by 1,324.
With the omicron surge waning, vaccinations have slowed down significantly in Florida as well.
One of the busiest weeks for vaccination in Florida was the one ending on Dec. 3, when 631,912 people got vaccinated. Now, 105,262 doses were given out for the week ending Feb. 3.
The 1,324 new deaths added to the state’s total is even greater than the 1,192 new deaths last week and 605 new deaths the week prior. That brings the state’s overall death toll to 66,279 people.
The weekly count reported Friday reflects all deaths over the past week or even weeks prior that are newly confirmed with COVID as the cause of death.
Throughout the pandemic, a total of 5,610,370 people in the state have had a confirmed case of COVID-19. That does not include Floridians who learn their positivity status using rapid at-home tests.
South Florida’s three counties reported fewer new cases for the week ending Feb. 3.
- Palm Beach County on Friday reported 5,793 additional cases, a drop from 8,741 additional cases a week ago. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 353,799.
- Broward County on Friday reported 7,869 additional cases, down from 12,024 additional cases a week earlier. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 581,106.
- Miami-Dade County on Friday reported 16,617 additional cases, down from 23,596 additional cases a week earlier. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 1,137,694.
Health officials reported a drop in the statewide positivity rate — 18%, which is down from 23.5% a week ago. At its worst during the delta wave, Florida’s test positivity climbed as high as 20.5% for the week ending Aug. 19, however, the positivity rate soared as high as 31.3% during the omicron surge.
In South Florida, the new case positivity rate declined in all three counties.
In Broward, it was 11.3%, down from 15.5% a week ago; in Palm Beach County, it was 15.1%, down from 19.7% a week ago; and in Miami-Dade, it was 10.5%, down from 14.8% a week ago.
Hospitalizations for COVID are stabilizing, and intensive care units have fewer patients than last week.
As of Friday, 8,132 people with COVID were hospitalized compared to 9,868 people a week ago. During the height of the delta wave this summer, more than 17,000 COVID patients were hospitalized in Florida.
Florida hospitals’ intensive-care units saw a decrease in COVID patients this week. On Friday, COVID patients occupied 19.7% of ICU beds compared to 22% a week ago.
In Broward County, the number of COVID-positive patients in hospitals has been trending downward. COVID patients now make up only about 12% of people in hospitals compared with 19% a week ago.
Floridians received 105,262 doses of a COVID vaccine for the week ending Feb. 3. Of those, 26,828 were first doses of a vaccine.
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Of Floridians ages 5 and older, 74% now have at least one dose.
Floridians received another 45,290 booster shots this week. That brings the total number of Floridians boosted to 4.92 million.
More than 15.3 million people in Florida ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Of those, 8.2 million have completed their two-shot series, 2.1 million people have received only a first dose, another 4.9 million have received an additional or booster dose.
The most heavily vaccinated age group in Florida is 65 and older, which is 95% vaccinated with at least one dose.
With the vaccine eligibility lowered, 21% of Florida’s 1.68 million children between ages 5 and 11 now have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
Sun Sentinel health reporter Cindy Goodman can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @cindykgoodman.