73% of Floridians over age 12 have been vaccinated

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Florida had a 2.6% new positivity rate for the COVID-19 virus for Oct. 29-Nov. 4, according to the Florida Department of Health report released Nov. 5.

About 73% of Floridians over age 12 have been vaccinated with at least one shot, according to the report. Vaccination rates by age groups are:

• 12-19: 56%;
• 20-29: 55%;
• 30-39: 65%;
• 40-49: 73%:
• 50-59: 78%;
• 60-64: 85%;
• 65+: 90%.

Vaccination rates in the rural areas continue to lag behind the state. For Oct. 29-Nov. 4, vaccination rates around the lake were:

• Glades County: 52%;
• Hendry County: 59%;
• Martin County: 69%;
• Okeechobee County: 51%;
• Palm Beach County: 76%.

Around the lake, new case positivity for the week was:

• Glades County: seven new cases, 10.8% new positivity rate:
• Hendry County: seven new cases, 1.7% new positivity rate:
• Martin County, 65 new cases, 2.9% new positivity rate;
• Okeechobee County, eight new cases, 2.2% new positivity rate;
• Palm Beach County, 793 new cases, 2.9% new positivity rate.

Hospitalizations

According to the Centers for Disease Control website, new COVID-19 hospitalizations in the seven day period ending Nov. 5 incuded:

• Glades County: 0;
• Hendry County: 3;
• Martin County: 18;
• Okeechobee County: 1;
• Palm Beach County: 88.

Vaccine free and widely available

According to FDOH and the CDC, vaccination provides the most effective protection against serious illness and death from the covid virus.

COVID-19 vaccines are free and available at most pharmacies as well as through county health departments. To find a vaccine site near you, go online to
https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/

COVID-19 deaths

As of Nov. 5, FDOH reported 60,334 Floridians had died from the COVID-19 virus, including deaths in the following age groups:

•  Under age 18: 29;
• 18-29:  417;
• 30-39: 1,101;
• 40-49:  2,688;
• 50-59: 6,054
• 60-64: 4,940;
• 65+: 45,125

Children ages 5-12

The Centers for Disease Control gave final approval for children ages 5 to 11 to receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Parents are advised to consult their child’s pediatrician about vaccination.

Booster shots

For those who are already fully vaccinated, booster shots are available for:
• Those over the age of 65;
• Those with health conditions that make them at higher risk;
• Those whose jobs make them at higher risk for exposure to the covid virus (such as medical professionals and first responders).


Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

Monoclonal antibody treatments can prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death in high-risk patients who have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. The antibodies help the immune system recognize and respond effectively to the virus. According to the treatment guidelines, they should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Treatment is free and vaccination status does not matter. If you are 12 years and older and are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, you are eligible for this treatment.

There is currently a standing order in Florida signed by the State Surgeon General that allows patients to receive this treatment without a prescription or referral if administered by an eligible health care provider.

In clinical trials, monoclonal antibody treatment showed a 70% reduction in hospitalization and death.

For more information, call the Florida Department of Health Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Support Line: 850-344-9637.

Additional precautions

FDOH and CDC advise everyone to continue to take precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including:

• Get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as you are eligible;
•  Maintain six feet of social distance from those who are not members of your household;
• Wear face coverings when it is not possible to maintain six feet of distance from others in public;
• Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

While more than 90% of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths were unvaccinated persons, those who are vaccinated may still contract the virus. While the vaccine helps the body fight off the virus, and a person with a breakthrough case may not have symptoms, there is still a possibility they could spread the virus to others, especially those who have not been vaccinated, the CDC warns.

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