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Florida’s weekly COVID-19 report showed a drop in new cases from the record high last week, an indication that the state has passed the peak of the omicron wave and the testing madness has subsided. However, the death toll from omicron is beginning to reveal itself.
On Friday, Florida reported 289,204 new cases for the past seven days, a drop from 430,297 a week ago, and from 397,114 the week prior.
In another encouraging sign, the positivity rate declined this week, too, dropping to 26.8% from 29.3% last week. It is now near pre-Christmas levels.
However, Florida health officials reported 605 additional deaths, indicating omicron may have been severe for some vulnerable people.
The long lines at Florida’s COVID testing sites appear to have abated, and about 20,000 fewer PCR tests were done in the last seven days.
With the 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 more than 600,000 people got vaccinated. Now, as omicron is receding, the average daily vaccination rate has dropped every day for the past week. Only 55,287 people received the first dose of a vaccine for the week ending Jan. 20.
Floridians continue to succumb to the disease. The COVID death count rose again for the week ending Jan. 20. There were 605 new deaths, up from 470 new deaths last week and 184 new deaths the week prior. That brings the state’s overall death toll to 63,763 people.
The weekly count reported Friday reflects all deaths over the last week or even weeks prior that are newly confirmed with COVID as the cause of death.
Throughout the pandemic, a total of 5,280,903 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 Jan. 20.
- Palm Beach County on Friday reported 15,059 additional cases, a drop from 26,918 additional cases a week ago. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 339,330.
- Broward County on Friday reported 23,153 additional cases, down from 48,216 additional cases a week earlier. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 561,395.
- Miami-Dade County on Friday reported 47,414 additional cases, down from 93,877 a week earlier. The total number of confirmed cases in the county stands at 1,098,467.
Health officials reported a drop in the statewide positivity rate — 29.3%, down from 31.2% last week. 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 21.3%, down from 28.1% a week ago; in Palm Beach County, it was 24.8%, down from 29.7% a week ago; and in Miami-Dade, it was 20.2%, down from 25.3% a week ago.
Hospitalizations for COVID are stabilizing but intensive care units have more patients than last week.
As of Thursday, 11,468 people with COVID are hospitalized in Florida, down slightly from 11,552 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 an increase in COVID patients this week. On Thursday, COVID patients occupied 25% of ICU beds, compared to 22.5% 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 27% of patients.
Floridians received 208,805 doses of a COVID vaccine for the week ending Jan. 20. Of those, 55,287 were first doses of a vaccine.
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Of Floridians age 5 and older, 73% now have at least one dose.
Floridians received another 115,852 booster shots this week. That brings the total number of Floridians boosted to 4.77 million.
More than 15 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 4.7 million have received an additional or booster dose.
The most heavily vaccinated age group in Florida is 65 and older, which is 91% vaccinated with at least one dose.
With the vaccine eligibility lowered, 19% 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.