COVID-19 cases tracked as virus continues to mutate

41 covid deaths reported in Florida last week


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced Aug. 18 that it is tracking a new COVID-19 strain, as the virus continues to mutate. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified BA.2.86 as a “variant under monitoring.”

Vaccine booster shots are expected to be available by October for children and adults.

The Florida Department of Health issues a COVID-19 situation report every two weeks. The Aug. 18 report, shared data for Aug. 11-17, indicated Florida had 41 covid deaths for the week and a total of 89,905 covid deaths since the start of the pandemic.

For the week of Aug. 11-17, Florida had 18,518 new cases of COVID-19 reported. New cases only include those who have never before tested positive for the virus. The reported cases are limited to those tested by the Florida Department of Health, doctors and hospitals. According to FDOH, actual cases are likely higher because many of those with mild symptoms may not seek additional medical care.

For the week:

• Collier County reported 323 new cases;

• Glades County reported 5 new cases;

• Hendry County reported 61 new cases;

• Highlands County reported 100 new cases;

• Martin County reported 65 new cases;

• Okeechobee County reported 23 new cases;

• Palm Beach County reported 1,342 new cases.

According to the CDC, “COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch.”

The CDC advises: People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a high-quality mask or respirator when indoors in public.

While most of Florida is considered at low risk of covid transmission, Osceola County is at medium risk, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends:

• Stay home if you are sick.

• Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.

• Maintain ventilation improvements.

• Avoid contact with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

• Follow recommendations for isolation if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

• Follow the recommendations for what to do if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.

• If you are at high risk of getting very sick, talk with a healthcare provider about additional prevention actions.

• Contact your health care provider for advice based on your individual health history.

• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face. This helps prevent transmission of many viruses. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

covid, Florida, Okeechobee