Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties at 'medium' risk from covid

Posted 5/23/22

The risk from the COVID-19 pandemic has increased in Florida in recent weeks according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) …

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Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties at 'medium' risk from covid

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The risk from the COVID-19 pandemic has increased in Florida in recent weeks according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with most of Florida’s lower east coast at medium risk for COVID-19. The CDC calculates risk based on new covid cases, hospital admissions, percent of hospital beds occupied by covid-positive patients and percent of ICU beds available.

As of May 23, the risk for South Central Florida Counties was:
• Glades County: Low;
• Hendry County: Low;
• Highlands County: Low;
• Martin County: Medium;
• Okeechobee County: Medium;
• Palm Beach County: Medium.

Other Florida counties at medium risk include: Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, St. Lucie, Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando.

The CDC advises those in an area of low risk to:
• Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, and
• Get tested if you have symptoms.

For those in areas of medium risk, the CDC advises:
• If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your health care provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions;
• Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines;
• Get tested if you have symptoms.

The CDC advises those in areas of high risk to:
• Wear a mask indoors in public;
• Get tested if you have symptoms;
• Consult your doctor about additional precautions that may be needed if you are at risk for severe illness.

According to the CDC, people may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. Masks are recommended in indoor public transportation settings and may be required in other places by local or state authorities.

Florida’s new covid positivity rate was 13.4% according to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) report published May 20. However, since so many people are now using home tests – which are not reported to FDOH – it’s difficult to determine how useful that data is.

In South Central Florida for the period of May 13-19:
• Glades County had six new positive cases for a new case positivity of 8.8%.
• Hendry County had 42 new positive cases for a new positivity rate of 5.0%.
• Highlands County had 133 new positive cases for a new positivity rate of 8.6%.
• Martin County had 319 new positive cases for new positivity rate of 12.4%.
• Okeechobee County had 29 new positive cases for a new positivity rate of 6.4%.
• Palm Beach County had 4,640 new positive cases for a new positivity rate of 16.0%.

Since the start of the pandemic, 74,330 Floridians have died related to the COVID-19 virus, according to FDOH. This represents a fatality rate of 1.2%. The risk continues to be higher for those over the age of 65. Since the start of the pandemic, Florida has documented 806,066 positive covid cases in persons over the age of 65, and 56,033 deaths for a fatality rate of 7.0%.

According to the New York Times, based on CDC data, covid deaths in South Central Florida since the start of the pandemic have included:
• Glades County: 36;
• Hendry County: 160;
• Highlands County: 686;
• Martin County: 616;
• Okeechobee County: 183;
• Palm Beach County: 5,059.

COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters continue to be free and widely available in Florida. For a vaccination site near you go online to https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/ or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

According to FDOH, a booster shot will increase your immune response. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna boosters are preferred—you can get the Johnson & Johnson booster in some situations.

You can get the Pfizer BioNTech booster if:
• You’re age 12 and older and received two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine over five months ago—children and teens age 12–17 can only get the Pfizer BioNTech booster.

You can get the Moderna booster if:
• You’re age 18 and older and received two doses of the Moderna vaccine over vie months ago.

You can get the Johnson & Johnson booster in some situations if:
• You’re age 18 and older and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over two months ago.
• Adults age 18 and older can choose either the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna, and in some situations, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, for their booster regardless of which vaccine they initially received.

An additional primary dose will improve moderately to severely immunocompromised people’s immune response to their initial two-dose series of the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

You can get an additional primary dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine if:
• You received two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine over 28 days ago;
• You’re moderately or severely immunocompromised; and
• You’re age 5 and older.

You can get an additional primary dose of the Moderna vaccine if:
• You received two doses of the Moderna vaccine over 28 days ago;
• You’re moderately or severely immunocompromised; and
• You’re age 18 and older.

At this time, an additional primary dose is not recommended for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Covid test kits are available free from the U.S. government. Each order contains four test kits. Every home in the United States is eligible to order three rounds of free at-home tests (for a total of 12 test kits). To order free tests, go online to www.covid.gov/tests or call 1-800-232-0233.

COVID-19, covid tests, CDC

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