Florida COVID weekly update: Miami-Dade lowered to medium risk level for virus spread

Howard Cohen/hcohen@miamiherald.com

What is the COVID-19 situation like in Florida?

In the past seven days, the state has added 2,258 cases and 44 deaths per day, on average, according to Miami Herald calculations of data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the past three weeks, on average, 110 fewer cases were logged each day across the state, showing a decrease in new cases.

COVID information shifting to weekly trends. What to know about finding the report

As of Tuesday, Sept. 27, more than 14,682,100 people are fully vaccinated in Florida. The state has logged at least 7,114,122 cases and 81,261 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The number of cases is likely an undercount due to positive results from at-home COVID testing. The state only tracks resident cases and deaths, excluding nonresidents.

Also, total hospitalizations have dipped to levels not seen since early June, and continue to go down.

Here’s a breakdown of what to know this week:

Tracking COVID variants

The two omicron subvariants, BA.4.6 and BA.5, are spreading throughout the United States. They were first detected in South Africa earlier this year.

From Sept. 18 to Sept. 24, the BA.5 strain remained the most dominant strain in the United States, accounting for 83.1% of cases. The BA.4.6 variant remained the second most dominant strain, accounting for 11.9% of cases, according to CDC data.

In the first week of May, the BA.5 variant accounted for only about 1% of new COVID cases.

In the Southeast region, which includes Florida, BA.5 accounted for 79.8% of cases in the area and BA.4.6 accounted for 15.6%, the most dominant strain and second most.

COVID spread in South Florida

In the last week, Miami-Dade lowered to a medium risk level, while Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe remained there. At this level, masks aren’t recommended and the CDC advises that those who are at high risk for severe illness should ask their doctor about masks.

Manatee County remained at a low COVID-19 risk level. Under this level, the CDC recommends to get tested if you have symptoms and stay up-to-date with coronavirus vaccines.

Masks are only recommended for those with symptoms, a positive test or exposure to the virus.

South Florida and Manatee County COVID-19 Cases

In the period from Sept. 15 to Sept. 22, Florida has seen 22,953 new cases, according to Miami Herald calculations of the CDC’s Community Profile Report published Friday.

Here’s a breakdown of the new COVID cases in South Florida and Manatee County, according to the report.

Miami-Dade reported 4,210 new resident cases in the week ending Sept. 22, reaching a total of 1,455,150. Cases added were 23.03% fewer than those added in the previous week, and COVID-19 testing decreased by 18.19%.

Broward reported 2,159 new resident cases, reaching a total of 731,348. Cases added were 21.00% fewer than those added in the previous week, and COVID-19 testing decreased by 15.61%.

Palm Beach reported 1,468 new resident cases, reaching a total of 449,973. Cases added were 17.81% fewer than those added in the previous week, and COVID-19 testing decreased by 18.3%.

Monroe reported 52 new resident cases, reaching a total of 21,782. Cases added were 8.77% fewer than those added in the previous week, and COVID-19 testing decreased by 17%.

Manatee reported 353 new resident cases, reaching a total of 116,688. Cases added were 23.93% fewer than those added in the previous week and COVID-19 testing decreased by 11.15%.

South Florida and Manatee County COVID deaths

Florida has added 397 deaths in the past week, according to Miami Herald calculations of the CDC’s Friday Community Profile Report.

It is unclear when these newly reported deaths occurred. The Community Profile Report updates Florida’s county tolls and rates about once every seven days.

As of Friday’s Community Profile Report, Florida had a rate of 377 cumulative deaths per 100,000 people since the start of the pandemic.

Here’s where death rates and tolls stand in South Florida and Manatee County, according to the CDC:

Miami-Dade’s death toll is 11,724, an increase of 46 deaths from Friday’s report. That’s a rate of 432 cumulative deaths per 100,000 people since the beginning of the pandemic.

Broward’s death toll is 6,356, an increase of 23. That’s a rate of 325 cumulative deaths per 100,000 people.

Palm Beach’s death toll is 5,607, an increase of 32. That’s a rate of 375 cumulative deaths per 100,000 people.

Monroe’s death toll is 131, no increases. The county would be at a death rate of 176 deaths per 100,000 people if its population were that large.

Manatee’s death toll is 1,593, an increase of eight. Manatee has a rate of 395 cumulative deaths per 100,000 people.

Florida COVID-19 hospitalizations

There were 1,995 people hospitalized in Florida, with 252 in the ICU, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services report on Tuesday.

Over the past three weeks, on average, 47 fewer people were hospitalized each day in Florida, showing a decrease in seven-day average hospital trends.

At that same time, on average, three fewer people were in the ICU with COVID each day in Florida, another increase in trends.

During omicron’s January peak, more than 15,000 patients were hospitalized in Florida, according to HHS data.

Florida COVID-19 vaccinations

About 14,682,192 eligible Floridians — 68.4% of the state’s population — have completed the two-dose series of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or have completed Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, according to the CDC.

About 6,252,270 Floridians have received a booster, about 42.6% of the state’s fully vaccinated population.

Here’s how many people have received a booster in South Florida and Manatee County, according to the CDC:

In Miami-Dade, about 836,371 people, or 35.4% of the fully vaccinated population, have received a booster.

In Broward, about 589,668 people have received a booster, or 41.5% of the fully vaccinated population.

In Palm Beach, about 460,064 people have received a booster, or 45.4% of the fully vaccinated population.

In Monroe, about 24,184 people have received a booster, or 40.8% of the fully vaccinated population.

In Manatee, about 118,848 people have received a booster, or 46.6% of the fully vaccinated population.