Florida’s COVID-19 rate continued to climb last week.
According to the Florida Department of Health Report released, Jan. 7, for the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 6, covid positivity rates were up, with Florida at 31.2% new case positivity, compared to 26.5% on Dec. 30; 13.8% on Dec. 23; and, 5.4% Dec. 16.
New cases in South Central Florida, for the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 6 were:
• Collier County – 4,871 (compared to 2,829, previous week),
• Glades County – 71 (compared to 23, previous week),
• Hendry County - 688 (compared to 323, previous week),
• Highlands County - 951 (compared to 622, previous week),
• Martin County - 2,298 (compared to 1,292, previous week),
• Okeechobee County - 600 (compared to 209, previous week),
• Palm Beach County – 29,167 (compared to 24,488 previous week).
New covid hospitalizations for the week of Jan. 1-7, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), were:
• Collier County: 196,
• Glades County: 0,
• Hendry County: 4,
• Highlands County: 39,
• Martin County: 105,
• Okeechobee County: 11,
• Palm Beach County: 1,011.
As of the Dec. 31 report, 72% of Floridians over the age of 5 have been vaccinated.
Florida vaccination rates by age group are:
Vaccination rates in South Central Florida as of Jan. 6 were:
• Collier County - 76%
• Glades County - 52%
• Hendry County - 58%
• Highlands County - 62%
• Martin County - 68%
• Okeechobee County - 50%
• Palm Beach County - 74%.
New case positivity rates in South Central Florida as of Jan. 6 were:
• Collier County – 30.8% (compared to 23,5% previous week),
• Glades County – 40.8% (compared to 21.6% previous week),
• Hendry County – 39.1% (compared to 22.0% previous week),
The CDC recommends that:
• Everyone 5 years and older protects themselves by getting fully vaccinated.
• Immunocompromised people talk with their healthcare professional about additional primary doses and booster doses following the primary series.*
As of Jan. 6, Florida deaths related to COVID-19 totaled 62,688, an increase of 184 deaths since Dec. 30. Total deaths be age group were:
• Under 16: 31,
• 16-29: 441,
• 39-39: 1,159,
• 40-49: 2,787,
• 50-59: 6,358,
• 60-64: 5,172,
• 65+: 46,740.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reminds individuals “to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.”
According to the CDC: “Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. Scientists are currently investigating omicron, including how protected fully vaccinated people will be against infection, hospitalization and death. CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated. CDC recommends that everyone ages 18 years and older should get a booster shot at least two months after their initial J&J/Janssen vaccine or six months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.”
Masks offer some protection against all variants. CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC recommends everyone use three-ply surgical masks or N95 masks, as these are now widely available. Cloth masks offer little protection against the highly contagious omicron variant. (At the start of the pandemic, there was a shortage of surgical masksand N95 masks. At that time, the general public was asked to use cloth face coverings so as not to compete with medical professionals for the scarce supply of surgical and N95 masks.)
Both the COVID-19 Delta variant and the omicron variant are currently circulating in Florida, according to FDOH. The omicron variant usually produces less severe symptoms. With either variant, most of those who become sick enough to require hospitalizations are unvaccinated.