COVID-19 positivity rates remain high in Florida


TALLAHASSEE -- The new COVID-19 positivity rate for the State of Florida  for the seven day period Jan. 7-13, was 29.3%, according to the Florida Department of Health report released Jan. 14.

Florida’s added 470 COVID-19 deaths last week, with the state’s covid death total now at 63,158.

Around Lake Okeechobee, the new case positivity remained high as more people test positive for covid.

• Glades County had 105 new cases for the week of Jan. 7-13, with 38.9% new case positivity for the week;

• Hendry County had 842 new cases for the week, 37.3% new case positivity.

• Martin County had 2,515 new cases for the week, 34.2% new case positivity;

• Okeechobee County had 839 new cases for the week, 40.7% new case positivity.

• Palm Beach County had 26,918 new cases for the week, 29.7% new case positivity.

Vaccination continues to be the most effective defense against serious illness, according to FDOH. For most vaccinated persons, the COVID-19 Omicron variant results in mild or no symptoms.

Statewide, 72% of Floridians over the age of 5 have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination rates for the rural areas remain below the state average. Around the lake vaccination rates as of Jan. 13 were:

• Glades County, 53%;
• Hendry, 58%;
• Martin, 68%;
• Okeechobee, 50%;
• Palm Beach County, 75%.

New COVID-19 hospitalizations last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control, were:
• Glades County: 0;
• Hendry County: 7;
• Martin County: 135;
• Okeechobee County: 20;
• Palm Beach County: 1,170.

Free tests

On Friday, the Biden administration announced a plan to provide four free COVID-19 home tests per household. Starting Wednesday, Jan. 19, Americans can go online to to order the tests, which will be delivered by mail.

Starting Saturday, Jan. 15, Americans may request insurance reimbursement for up to eight home tests per month they purchase at pharmacies or online. It may be a few weeks before the reimbursement process is in place, so those who purchase tests are encouraged to save their receipts.