Florida COVID-19 cases spike in latest state data

1 in 5 new cases in the U.S. are from Florida, White House says

Miami-Dade and Broward leaders are urging the public to mask up and not let their guards down as coronavirus numbers in the state surge to levels that hadn't been seen for months.

MIAMI – New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Florida have spiked to levels not seen in several weeks, and the White House says the state is playing an outsized role in driving up concerning national numbers.

Over the past week, 45,603 new COVID-19 cases were identified in Florida, an average of 6,515 new cases per day, according to new data released by the state’s health department Friday afternoon.

That’s far higher than the 23,562 new cases (and 3,366 daily average) from the previous week, which had already been the state’s worst week for new cases since early May. (See the full report at the bottom of this page.)

Florida’s new case positivity rate jumped to 11.5%. It had been 7.8% the week prior and 5.2% the week before that. That metric had been under 4% for five straight weeks before that.

The newest numbers — which include 59 new deaths — reflect data from July 9-15. Last month, Florida ended its daily COVID-19 reports and now releases weekly metrics on Fridays.

About 3,200 COVID patients are hospitalized in the state, which reflects an increase of 73% since June 14. Florida now has the fourth-highest per-capita hospitalization rate in the U.S., behind only Nevada, Missouri and Arkansas.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients called out Florida’s high numbers on Friday, saying that about 20% of the nation’s new cases last week came out of the Sunshine State.

“If you’re unvaccinated, please get vaccinated now,” Zients said. “Vaccines work. It’s safe. It’s free. It’s readily available, and it’s never been more important.”

Speaking during the same White House briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the COVID-19 outbreak in the country is becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Almost all COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations nationally in recent weeks have been among the unvaccinated.

Of Florida’s eligible population (ages 12 and older), 59% of people are vaccinated, the state says. That’s one percentage point higher than a week ago.

The number of vaccinations administered per week has fallen by almost 80% statewide since April.

Miami-Dade (75%), Broward (67%), Monroe (69%) and Palm Beach (63%) counties all have higher vaccination rates than the state average.

Miami-Dade, however, had the highest number of new cases of any county in the state this past week with 7,062. Broward added 3,850 cases; Palm Beach had 2,483; and 94 were reported in the Florida Keys.

The rising virus numbers come as concerns grow about the spread of the Delta variant, which has become the dominant strain of the novel coronavirus in the United States.

The mayors of both Miami-Dade and Broward counties are urging their residents to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

“For God’s sake protect yourself, your family your friends your country. Get vaccinated,” Broward Mayor Steve Geller said Friday. “What we can tell you is that 99%-plus of the people being hospitalized have not been vaccinated.”

Though rare, there have been several “breakthrough cases” among people who did get their shots, including two Miami-Dade commission members just this week.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is recommending the use of face masks in large crowds and in county facilities, but recommendations are as far as local leaders can go.

“Our ability to take any actions has been — I could say limited, but have been eliminated ... by Gov. [Ron] DeSantis,” Geller said.


About the Authors:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.