Florida COVID update for Wednesday: 16,038 new cases, highest reported since January

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Florida has entered a peak of COVID-19 cases not seen since January’s surge as the state reported 16,038 new cases Tuesday to the federal government, the seventh consecutive day the state has reported more than 12,000 new daily cases.

The last time Florida had such high numbers of new COVID cases was on Jan. 7, when the state recorded 19,816 new cases, its highest single-day number of COVID cases.

Florida accounted for about 20 percent of Tuesday’s new reported COVID cases across the United States, according to the data Florida reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state also reported 92 new deaths on Tuesday.

Florida’s 7-day percent positivity rate climbed to 17.21% on Monday, up from 16.79% on Sunday, the state reported to the federal agency.

The surge in cases comes at the same time the CDC, which requires all states to report its daily case numbers to the federal agency, and Miami-Dade County have issued new guidelines for masks as a result of the surging delta variant strain of the virus.

On Tuesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency recommends that, in areas with “substantial and high transmission” of the virus, fully vaccinated people should wear masks in public indoor settings, including schools, to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

On Wednesday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava mandated masks at all county facilities, including libraries, recreational centers and county-owned entertainment venues. She is also urging businesses to require facial coverings indoors.

“The numbers are clear,” Levine Cava said at a press conference. “We hope that businesses will do the right thing.”

Cumulatively, Florida has recorded at least 2,534,334 confirmed COVID cases and 38,840 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the CDC.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy last week spoke of Florida’s rising caseload.

“What concerns me the most about Florida is that cases are rising at an alarming rate, hospitalizations are going up, and deaths are going up. And it’s being driven by the delta variant,” Murthy said in an interview with McClatchy.

“The challenge we have in Florida, and in far too many states, is we still don’t have vaccination rates high enough, and in some pockets, we have actually vaccination rates that are quite low,” he said.

More than 12.2 million Floridians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Florida’s weekly COVID reports.

But Jason Salemi, a USF researcher who is tracking Florida’s COVID cases, estimates that 8 million people in Florida who are eligible for the vaccine have not been vaccinated.

Unvaccinated pockets across North, Central Florida

Parts of Central and North Florida show lower vaccine rates than the rest of the state, according to the CDC map. Liberty County, a small county in the Panhandle, had only 28.6 percent of its total residents vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Statewide, 57 percent of Florida’s total population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, the CDC said Wednesday, in line with the U.S. average.

Florida switched from daily to weekly reports in early June. However, the CDC is still reporting daily case counts from the states on its COVID Data Tracker.

January was the worst month of the Florida pandemic, with daily case counts routinely topping 10,000. That followed a surge from last July, when daily case counts also topped 10,000.

The latter half of July 2021 has been the start of Florida’s third COVID-19 surge.

COVID-19 cases and vaccines in South Florida

The Miami Herald can no longer include new deaths because the state stopped classifying deaths by county in its report. The CDC does not display daily case totals for counties, only weekly averages.

Miami-Dade County’s seven-day case average was 11,087, as of Tuesday, according to the CDC.

In Miami-Dade, 2,002,072, or 73.7 percent of the county’s total population, has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

85.2% of people 12 years old and over have received at least one dose, 87.8% of people 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 99.2% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the CDC said.

The county’s seven-day positivity rate was 12.74 percent from July 19-25.

Broward County’s seven-day case average was 6,055 as of Tuesday.

In Broward, 1,210,489 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or 62 percent of the total population.

71.9% of people 12 years old and over have received at least one dose, 74.3% of people 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 94.7% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The county’s seven-day percent positivity was 15.03% from July 19-25.

Palm Beach County’s seven-day case average was 3,981 as of Tuesday.

In Palm Beach, 864,001 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or 57.7 percent of the total population.

65.8% of people 12 years old and over have received at least one dose, 68.2% of people 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 88.5% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The county’s seven-day percent positivity rate was 16.4% from July 19-25.

Monroe County’s seven-day case average was 115 as of Tuesday.

In Monroe, 51,660 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or 69.6 percent of the total population.

77.6% of people age 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 80.3% of people 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 99.9% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The county’s seven-day percent positivity rate was 14.22% from July 19-25.

Manatee County’s seven-day case average was 991 as of Tuesday.

In Manatee, 215,898 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or 53.5 percent of the total population.

60.5% of people age 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 63.2% of people 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 86.6% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The county’s seven-day percent positivity was 17.56% from July 19-25.

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