Florida has 200+ cases of COVID-19 variant; Broward and Dade have the most

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that Florida is getting more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than the prior week, and the state is trying to create more ways to vaccinate people in underserved communities.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida has at least 201 confirmed cases of the more contagious COVID-19 variant out of the United Kingdom, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s the highest total in the country, and the highest concentration of cases remains in South Florida, numbers from the state’s health department show.

California has 150 confirmed cases of that variant and New York has the third-most with 59. There have been 690 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant across 33 states in the statistics posted Sunday night.

In Florida, Broward County has the most verified variant cases (57), followed by Miami-Dade (40) and Palm Beach County (22), according to the Florida Department of Health.

There are still no verified cases of the Brazilian or South African strains in Florida, the CDC says.

The Florida Department of Health has said that one of the reasons the state has identified the most U.K. variant cases is because doctors here are doing more sequencing to look for it. Those efforts include samples being checked by University of Miami researchers.

“Florida is a national leader in sequencing for mutations of the COVID-19 virus,” FDOH said in a statement. “In fact, as of Feb. 5, the Florida Department of Health has sequenced 4,224 COVID-19 specimens, with more than 220 sequenced last week. By leading in sequencing, the department is actively looking for the variant in Florida, which is why more cases are being discovered in Florida.”

Below is a list of all the cases by county, according to FDOH:

Broward – 57

Dade – 40

Palm Beach – 22

Hillsborough – 20

Pinellas – 19

Seminole – 6

Pasco – 6

Osceola – 5

Lee – 2

Collier – 2

Brevard – 2

Hendry – 2

Volusia – 2

Lake – 2

Leon – 2

St. Lucie – 2

Escambia – 1

Suwannee – 1

Hernando – 1

Sumter – 1

Marion – 1

Orange – 1

Martin – 1

Alachua – 1

Charlotte – 1

Polk – 1

The University of Miami announced Friday that it was taking additional safety measures after a “dramatic” increase in coronavirus infections among students on campus, which UM President Julio Frenk said included cases of the U.K. strain.

Infectious disease experts say it may only be a matter of time before the British variant becomes the dominant strain in the United States. It is believed that the current COVID-19 vaccines do provide a level of defense against it.

New variants have, however, raised worry about COVID-19 virus reinfections, with evidence mounting that having COVID-19 may not protect against getting infected again with some of the new variants.

To see the CDC’s data on COVID-19 variants in the U.S., click here.