Florida reports 51,644 more COVID cases as hospitalizations climb

People wait in a long line to get a COVID-19 test, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in North Miami. (Marta Lavandier, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is rising across Florida as infections continue their omicron-driven surge.

The Florida Hospital Association’s latest data shows 5,299 people were admitted with COVID in the state on Monday, up from 4,485 on Dec. 31.

Florida reported 51,644 new COVID-19 cases to the CDC from Monday, the latest federal data posted Tuesday shows. That comes after 85,635 infections were added over the weekend.

The state has reported 4,360,178 total cases since the start of the outbreak, a number that would not include all at-home tests conducted.

Florida had by far its most new cases of the entire pandemic in the final week of 2021, reporting 298,455 from Dec. 24-30. That equates to an average of more than 42,000 per day — twice what the state reported at the peak of the delta-driven summer surge in August.

The omicron variant is believed to not bring out as severe of symptoms for many people, plus more Floridians are now vaccinated, which infectious disease experts say has played a role in keeping hospitalizations lower than their peak in the summer.

Omicron, however, does appear to be spreading more rapidly since becoming the dominant strain. Florida’s new-case positivity rate soared to 26.5% last week, a sharp increase from 13.9% the week prior and 5.3% the week before that.

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