COVID-19 positivity remains high in lake area

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The highly COVID-19 Omicron variant continues to spread in Florida and an even more contagious Omicron “sub-variant” Omicron BA.2 may be close behind, with more than 100 cases found in the United States last week.

Health officials continue to encourage vaccinations for those over age 5 as the most effective protection against serious illness and death from any of the covid variants.

Statewide the new case positivity rate for the seven-day period ending Jan. 27, 2022, was 23.5%, down slightly from 26.8% the previous week.

As of Jan. 27, COVID-19 has been responsible for 64,995 deaths in Florida, and an increase of 1,232 deaths in the past week (compared to 605 deaths added to the total the previous week). Those who have not been vaccinated are at the highest risk, per FDOH.

New COVID-19 hospitalizations for the week ending Jan. 28, according to the Centers for Disease Control, were:

• Glades County: 0;
• Hendry County: 4;
• Martin County: 145;
• Okeechobee County: 19;
• Palm Beach County: 634.

For the counties around the lake, new case positivity continues to be higher than the state average, especially for those with lower than state average vaccination rates:

• Glades County – 40.5%, compared to 45.1% the previous week;
• Hendry County – 35.5% compared to 39.0% the previous week;
• Martin County – 22.9% compared to 30.3% the previous week;
• Okeechobee County – 32.8% compared to 42.2% the previous week;
• Palm Beach County – 24.5% compared to 24.85 the previous week.

New covid cases for the seven day period ending Jan. 27 were:

• Glades County – 62 (compared to 92 previous week);
• Hendry County – 473 (compared to 678 previous week);
• Martin County – 1,139 (compared to 1,479 previous week);
• Okeechobee County – 416 (compared to 612 previous week);
• Palm Beach County – 8,741 (compared to 15,059 previous week).

According to the Florida Department of Health, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent severe illness and death from any of the variants of COVID-19. Vaccinated persons can still be infected with covid, but are more likely to have no symptoms or only mild symptoms and more likely to recover quickly.

Statewide, as of Jan. 27, 73% of Floridians age 5 and older have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

In the counties around Lake Okeechobee, vaccination rates are:

• Glades County – 54%,
• Hendry County – 60%,
• Martin County – 69%,
• Okeechobee County – 50%,
• Palm Beach County – 75%.

Statewide deaths include:
• Under age 16: 36;
• Ages 16-29: 454;
• Ages 30-39: 1,193;
• Ages 40-49: 2,840;
• Ages 50-59: 6,515;
• Ages 60-64: 5,327;
• Ages 65+: 48,590

For COVID-19 testing sites, go online to https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/testing-sites/ Americans can also go online to COVIDtests.gov to order free at home tests, which will be delivered by mail.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available at most pharmacies. To find a vaccination site near you, go online to https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/

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