Florida COVID-19 cases and positivity rate rising

In this May 28 file photo, Natalia Dubom, of Honduras, gets the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at Miami International Airport. (Marta Lavandier, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida’s COVID-19 cases increased this week at a rate not seen in more than two months, the state’s latest data shows.

From July 2-8, there were 23,697 new cases verified in Florida, the highest weekly increase since 29,263 new cases were reported the week that began April 30.

The new case positivity rate also spiked to 7.8%, the highest in that 10-week span by far. Last week it was 5.2% and the week before that 3.8%.

Vaccinations have steadily decreased over the past 10 weeks, with 207,089 doses administered this week, according to the Florida Department of Health metrics released Friday.

Forbes reported Thursday that Florida is among the states with the highest COVID-19 cases per capita and one of the states where hospitalizations are climbing.

President Joe Biden said this week that more COVID vaccinations are needed as the Delta variant spreads.

“We need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and often times door-to-door, literally knocking on doors,” Biden said.

The Delta variant is expected to soon take over as dominant strain in Florida, researchers say, noting that it is already the most common strain of the virus in the United States, accounting for almost 52% of cases.

In South Florida, Broward Health, Memorial Regional and Jackson Memorial all tell Local 10 News that they are seeing higher COVID-19 hospitalization numbers this week. They say they don’t test for variants so aren’t sure how many of their cases are of the Delta variant, but they attribute it to being a post-holiday influx.

Among Florida’s eligible population (ages 12 and older), 58% have been vaccinated.

Miami-Dade (73%), Broward (66%), Monroe (68%) and Palm Beach (62%) counties all have higher vaccination rates than the state average.

Last month, Florida ended its daily COVID-19 reports and now releases weekly data on Fridays.