Okeechobee County vaccinations lag behind other lake area counties


Statewide, 71% of Floridians over age 12 have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one shot. While other counties around Lake Okeechobee have increased vaccinations, Okeechobee County continues to lag behind with fewer than 50% vaccinated. Okeechobee County also more that double the state average rate for new positive cases.

Sixteen of Florida’s 67 counties have vaccination rates under 50%. The lowest vaccinate rate is in Homes County, with only 32% of the county’s 22,2011 residents vaccinated. The highest vaccination rate is Broward County with 80% of the county’s 1,965,657 residents vaccinated.

The Florida Department of Health update released Sept. 24, vaccination rates around the big lake as of Sept. 23 were:
• Glades County: 51%;

• Hendry County: 57%;

• Martin County: 68%;

• Okeechobee County: 49%;

• Palm Beach County: 74%.

Around the lake, Okeechobee County also has the highest percentage of new covid cases. The Florida Department of Health update released Sept. 24, COVID-19 positivity around the big lake as of Sept. 23 were:

• Glades County: 16.0%;

• Hendry County: 12.1%;

• Martin County: 9.5%;

• Okeechobee County: 19.9%;

• Palm Beach County: 7.5%.

Statewide, new case positivity rate is 8.6%. Okeechobee County has the second highest new positivity rate in the state. Bradford County (which has 48% vaccinated) has a new positivity rate of 20.2%.

Statewide, as of Sept. 23, Florida had 53,580 COVID-19 deaths. Unvaccinated persons over the age of 65 continue to be at highest risk for dying from COVID-19, but the delta variant has caused serious illness and death in younger unvaccinated persons as well.In recent months, with the COVID-19 Delta variant dominant in Florida, more deaths of younger people have been reported.

To date, Florida deaths by age, as of Sept. 23:

• Under age 16: 22 (+3 in the past week);

• Ages 16-29: 361 (+21 in the past week;

• Ages 30-39: 881 (+89 in the past week):

• Ages 40-49: 2,188 (+166 in the past week);

• Ages 50-59: 5,010 (+367 in the past week);

• Ages 60-64: 4,252 (+260 in the past week);

• Ages 65+: 40,866 (+1,434 in the past week). About 21% of Florida residents are over the age of 65.

Florida added 2,340 COVID-19 deaths to the state total last week. According to FDOH, there is a time lag between the date a person dies and the date the data is entered in the data base. Some deaths added this week may have occurred days or even weeks ago. Some recent deaths may not yet be included.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available at most pharmacies. To fine a vaccination site near you, go online to https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/