COVID-19 new cases decreasing in Florida as vaccination rate rises

Rural areas are lower in vaccinations, higher in new cases than state average

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OKEECHOBEE – Florida vaccinations are increasing and the positivity rate is falling statewide, but the rural areas around Lake Okeechobee continue to have lower vaccination rates and higher new positivity rates than the state average.

Okeechobee County finally reached the halfway mark for vaccinating adults against COVID-19 last week.

According to the Florida Department of Health report released Oct. 8, while Florida has 72% of those over age 12 vaccinated with at least one dose, most of the counties around the lake lag behind the state. Statewide the new positivity rate is 4.8%.

• Glades County has 51% of adults over age 12 vaccinated. For the seven day period ending Oct. 8, Glades County had seven new covid cases and a new positivity rate of 9.7%.

• Hendry County has 58% vaccinated. For the seven day period ending Oct. 7, Hendry county had 31 new covid cases. The county has a 4.4% new positivity rate.

• Martin County has 68% vaccinated. For the seven day period ending Oct. 7, the county had 194 new covid cases and new positivity rate of 6.9%.

• Okeechobee County has 50% vaccinated. For the seven day period ending Oct. 7, the county had 50 new covid cases and a new positivity rate of 9.0%.

• Palm Beach County has 74% vaccinated. For the seven day period ending Oct. 7, the county had 1,744 new covid cases and a new positivity rate of 5.0%.

Statewide, as of Sept.30, Florida had 56,667 COVID-19 deaths, adding 1,368 deaths to the state total last week. Unvaccinated person over the age of 65 continue to be at highest risk for dying from COVID-19, but more younger people have become seriously ill from the delta variant.

To date, Florida deaths by age, as of Oct. 7:

• Under age 17: 24 (+11 in the past week);

• Ages 16-29: 389 (+12 in the past week;

• Ages 30-39: 987 (+40 in the past week):

• Ages 40-49: 2,414 (+226 in the past week);

• Ages 50-59: 5,476 (+199 in the past week);

• Ages 60-64: 4,584 (+148 in the past week);

• Ages 65+: 42,790 (+861 in the past week).

FDOH continues to encourage all eligible Floridians to be vaccinated, as vaccination is the most effective way to avoid hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Vaccines are free and available at most pharmacies as well as from FDOH offices and mobile clinics. To find a vaccination side near you, go online to https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/

According to the Centers for Disease Control, new hospitalization numbers were down in Florida last week. Around the lake, in the seven day period ending Oct. 10, Glades and Hendry counties had zero new covid hospitalizations;  Martin County had 34 new covid hospitalizations; Okeechobee County had six new covid hospitalizatons; Palm Beach County had 166 new covid hospitalizations.

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