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Florida COVID-19 positivity increases for 9th straight week

State averaging 21,000+ cases per day on average as hospitalizations also surge

The statewide positivity rate has nearly reached 20% as medical experts call Florida the "epicenter" of COVID-19 in the United States.
The statewide positivity rate has nearly reached 20% as medical experts call Florida the "epicenter" of COVID-19 in the United States.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida reported 150,118 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, a slight decrease from the 151,468 new cases in the state a week earlier.

It snaps a streak of eight consecutive weeks with an increase in new cases, but the statewide new-case positivity rate rose for a ninth straight week, reaching 19.8%.

That’s according to the newest data from the Florida Department of Health, which was released Friday. It reflects metrics from Aug. 13-19. The state’s health department has been releasing its reports weekly on Fridays late in the afternoon.

Since the start of the pandemic, Florida has reported 3,027,954 COVID-19 cases and 42,252 deaths connected to the novel coronavirus.

And raising concern as schools get back in session, 20,331 new cases in the past week were among children 12 and under. That age group’s new-case positivity rate was 23%. (See the full report at the bottom of this page.)

A look at COVID-19 cases and positivity rate across Florida over recent weeks. (Florida Department of Health)

Infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty of Florida International University says the state remains the epicenter for COVID-19 in the U.S., with a higher rate of transmission of the virus than ever before.

“Last week in Florida we had 697 cases per 100,000,” she said. “That is way too high.”

This week’s data reflects that more than 21,000 new COVID-19 cases are being reported daily in Florida on average.

Hospitalizations have also been steadily increasing, with a record 16,973 people confirmed to be admitted in the state with COVID-19 on Thursday, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

That number dropped slightly to 16,849 on Friday.

The recent hospitalization numbers nearly double the 2020 peak.

“Through the powerful voices of our frontline health care heroes comes the life-saving pleas for Floridians to get vaccinated,” Mary C. Mayhew, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, said in a statement Friday. “Half the COVID-19 cases at a major Florida hospital system are under 40 — the threat is real. Get vaccinated to protect yourself. Get vaccinated to ensure you will be there for your family.”

Perhaps most concerning, with the highly contagious delta variant spreading across the United States, children are filling hospital intensive care beds instead of classrooms in record numbers, more even than at the height of the pandemic.

“Currently we have more patients in the hospital and younger patients in the hospital from COVID-19 than we have had at any other time in the pandemic,” Marty said.

With the new school year beginning, many students are too young to get vaccines, which are available only to those 12 and over.

The latest state data shows that 66% of eligible Floridians (ages 12 and older) have received at least one vaccine shot.

Miami-Dade has 85% of its eligible population vaccinated; Broward has 76%; Monroe has 75%; Palm Beach County has 70%.

For information on where you can get COVID-19 vaccines or testing, click here.

VIEW THE FULL WEEKLY STATE REPORT BELOW:


About the Authors:

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.

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.