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The weekly number of new cases of COVID-19 and test positivity in Florida rose in the last week as the Delta variant spreads through the state.
The Florida Department of Health reported 11,873 new COVID cases for the week ending June 24, compared with 10,629 for the prior week. Test positivity rose to 3.8% from 3.3% a week earlier.
Vaccinations declined dramatically over the last week: Only 281,042 doses were administered compared with 413,018 a week earlier.
As of Friday, 57% of Floridians are vaccinated with at least one dose, only 1% more than last week.
In recent weeks, vaccines have become a hard sell in Florida. The drop-off is an indication Florida providers and health officials will need to work harder to use up the more than 8.4 million doses allocated but not used.
In total, 2,321,929 people in Florida have tested positive for COVID.
- Palm Beach County reported 774 additional cases from 660 a week prior. The county now has a total of 148,184 confirmed cases among residents during the pandemic.
- Broward County reported 1,187 additional cases from 1,044 the week prior. Broward has a known total of 245,828 cases among residents with COVID since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Miami-Dade County reported 2,231 from 1,971 additional cases the week prior. The county now has 501,540 confirmed cases among residents with COVID since the beginning of the pandemic.
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 3.8% on Friday, up from 3.3% the week before. This method of calculating positivity counts new infections only but also counts repeat negative tests, which skews the figure downward.
In South Florida, the positivity rate was 3.1% in Broward, up from 2.5% a week earlier; 3.4% in Palm Beach, up from 3.1% a week earlier; and 2.8% in Miami-Dade, up from 2.4% a week earlier
In Florida, hospitalizations for COVID declined slightly, with 1,724 people hospitalized with COVID-19 for the seven-day period ending June 22, according to the latest White House COVID report. The week prior, 1,754 people were hospitalized for COVID.
On Friday, the state reported 217 additional deaths from COVID-19.
Last week’s health officials reported 290 additional deaths. Florida had 29 weeks straight of more than 300 weekly reported deaths in early November.
The state’s pandemic data report shows a total of 37,772 Floridians have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
More than 10.83 million Floridians have had one or more doses of a COVID vaccine as of Friday.
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In Florida, 1,621,232 people have received their first dose of the vaccine only, and 9,212,289 people have completed the series of two doses required to be fully vaccinated.
The 65-and-older age group represents the highest number of people vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 2,381 variant cases in the samples it tested over the four weeks ending June 5. The highly contagious Delta variant accounted for 55 cases in the small sampling. The Alpha variant from the U.K. remains the most prevalent in the state at this time.
While the Florida Department of Health does not share variant information with the public, Florida’s private labs and universities have found the Delta variant in Florida as early as April.
Helix Labs, which tracks variants nationwide, found the Delta variant present in 62 counties in Florida in 13% or more of the samples it collected and processed through May 1. Helix’s newest sample testing shows Alpha has dropped to less than 35% of new cases in Florida and Delta makes up 20-25% of new cases. Helix found Delta is increasing in frequency at a speed greatest in areas where vaccination rates are lowest.
Sun Sentinel health reporter Cindy Goodman can be reached at email@example.com.