Florida surpasses 30K coronavirus deaths as more get vaccine

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MIAMI (AP) — Health officials announced Monday that more than 30,000 Floridians have died of COVID-19, but hospitalizations and cases have continued to drop, mirroring the national trend.

Florida’s Department of Health reports that 30,065 state residents have died and more than 1.8 million have been infected. Officials say 530 people who live outside the state have died of the virus in Florida.

On Monday, there were 4,147 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida, according to a state online census of hospital beds.

Meanwhile, nearly 1.4 million people in the state have received both the first and second doses of the vaccine and another 1.3 million have received the first dose. As more elderly people complete their immunizations, some officials are urging the governor to expand the eligibility list to include people 55 and older as well as law enforcement and teachers.

Broward County Mayor Steve Geller says the state will have vaccinated every eligible senior within the month and is hoping Gov. Ron DeSantis lets them expand the criteria.

Geller noted that there are 340,000 seniors in Broward County and only about 250,000 of them will want the vaccine when it is first available. More than 211,000 Broward residents have been vaccinated.

“With the increasing number of vaccines available, it seems clear that within the next month we will have vaccinated everyone over 65 in Broward that currently wants to receive the vaccine," he said in a letter to DeSantis.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday on Twitter that he won't change his strategy just yet.

“Our strategy remains that seniors come first. We will continue to work to ensure that every senior in Florida that wants a vaccine, will receive a vaccine,” he said.

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