COVID-19 infections on the rise in Florida

Positivity rate jumps from 5.2% to 7.8% in one week

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TALLAHASSEE -- COVID-19 infections rose in Florida last week, with 23,697 new cases July 2-8, according to the Florida Department of Health report released July 8.

FDOH releases weekly summaries of vaccination rates and new cases by county. Numbers for hospitalizations and deaths by county are no longer released by the state.

For July 2-8, there were 32 new COVID-19 deaths in Florida (compared to 48 the previous week). The FDOH summary does not list where the deaths were. Since the pandemic began 38,157 Floridians have died related to the virus. FDOH no longer provides information about hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

Statewide, 58% of the population over age 12 has been vaccinated. Statewide, new case positivity for July 2-8 was 7.8% (compared to 5.2% the previous week).

While vaccines are free and available through most pharmacies, vaccination rates in some areas are well below the national and state averages.

In South Central Florida, for the week of July 2-8:

• Collier County: 64% of those over age 12 are vaccinated; 16.8% new positivity rate for July 2-8 (compared to 5.8% previous week); 375 new cases for the week;

• Glades County: 41% of those over age 12 vaccinated; 7.7% new positivity rate (compared to 10.0% previous week); 3 new cases for the week;

• Hendry County: 43% of those over age 12 vaccinated; 6.8% new positivity rate (compared to 7.0% last week); 31 new cases for the week;

• Highlands County: 52% of those over age 12 vaccinated; 8.6% new positivity rate (compared to 6.6% last week); 67 new cases for the week;

• Martin County: 68% of persons over age 12 vaccinated; 11.3% new positivity rate (compared to 4.4% last week); 66 new cases for the week;

• Okeechobee County: 38% of persons over age 12 vaccinated; 9.1% new positivity rate (compared to 4.6% last week); 30 new cases for the week;

• Palm Beach County: 62% of persons over age 12 vaccinated; 6.9% new case positivity rate (compared to 4.3% last week); 1,378 new cases for the week.

Florida has more than 1,000 vaccine distribution sites for eligible residents. Vaccines are free at all locations. To find COVID-19 testing or vaccination sites, go online to floridahealthcovid19.gov.

According to the Centers for the Disease Control, those who are fully vaccinated can be reasonably safe going out in public without a mask. Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinate, the CDC warns. Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

According to the most recent estimates by the Centers for Disease Control, the COVID-19 delta variant is now the dominant strain in the United States. The delta variant is 60% more contagious than the original strain, according to the World Health Organization.

Nationwide, COVID-19 cases numbers continue to fall in areas with higher rates of COVID-19 vaccinations, and rise in areas with lower vaccination rates.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration deleted its current COVID-19 hospitalization database and the state is no longer reporting how many patients have been hospitalized with the virus.

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