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State health officials confirmed 11,015 new COVID-19 diagnoses and 115 fatalities in Florida as the state begins week 2 of the vaccine rollout.
Together with 20,083 cases and 171 deaths reported over the weekend, the Department of Health shows total 1,212,581 positive cases and 20,976 fatalities. Of those cases, 20,125 are nonresidents, as are 296 of the deaths.
Officials on Saturday began publishing the number of people who have been vaccinated in the Sunshine State. Through Monday morning, 43,716 people have been vaccinated.
Daily new cases have routinely topped 10,000, and Florida became the third state to record more than 1 million cases this month.
For all-day Sunday, the latest complete day available, officials counted 10,772 cases from 145,728 residents tested. Among the new positives, the median age was 41.
An increase in new cases was expected following Thanksgiving, as with the coming holidays, with heightened travel and gatherings. In addition to the rise in new cases, a possible spike was unfolding in the state’s positivity rates, but rates have since been fluctuating.
The positivity rate for new cases began increasing again the day after Thanksgiving, nearly neutralizing two weeks of improvements since positivity rates topped 10% last month. That day, the positivity rate was down to 6.2% but returned to 9.1% Dec. 1 and 9.3% Tuesday, the highest since mid-November. On Sunday, the positivity rate had fallen to 8.5%.
However, COVID-19 cases and deaths reported by state health officials can sometimes be reported days or weeks later.
Over the summer, Gov. Ron DeSantis shifted the state’s data focus away from the raw count and percent positivity rates, pointing instead to hospital visits with symptoms related to COVID-19 as his preferred metric.
After peaking at 15,999 coronavirus-related hospitalizations the week of July 5, DOH reported that hospitalizations declined. For eight consecutive weeks as of two weeks ago, the state has recorded week-over increases in hospitalizations.
Last week showed a downturn in new hospitalizations, from 9,632 two weeks ago to 9,529 last week. Officials may still update last week’s count and instead show an increase, as has happened in recent weeks.
As of Monday, 60,152 Floridians have been hospitalized after DOH recorded 157 new hospitalizations, a small increase compared to the new normal. The Agency for Health Care Administration reports that 5,514 people are currently hospitalized with the disease, an increase of 336 since Friday afternoon.
Last week, the nation kicked off what could be the beginning of the end of the pandemic. DeSantis was at Tampa General Hospital to sign for Florida’s first vaccine delivery and looked on as the first frontline worker received a vaccine.
On Monday, the state will receive 61,000 Moderna vaccine doses followed by more than 300,000 on Tuesday. Florida will receive 120,000 doses from a second shipment of Pfizer’s vaccine expected Monday or Tuesday.
DeSantis also confirmed Monday that he would not take the vaccine ahead of schedule, as some other officials have in Florida and across the country.
“I am not stepping in line with anybody,” the Governor said. “I’m less than 45. I’d imagine it would take me a couple more months. I will do it, but I’m not going to step in front.”
The United States has seen a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases that has disproportionately affected the Upper Midwest.
Florida, the third most populous state, is only behind California and Texas in the total count of new cases. Officials in California have reported 1.89 million cases, including a record high 53,711 in an update Tuesday, while officials in Texas have confirmed 1.4 million cases.
Nine months prior to crossing 1 million infections, after officials confirmed the first COVID-19 cases in Florida on March 1, DeSantis ordered Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to declare a public health emergency in the state. Eight days after the emergency declaration, DeSantis issued a state of emergency, and both orders remain ongoing.
After the initial outbreak of new cases, at a time when access to coronavirus testing was low, officials had identified about 20,000 COVID-19 cases in Florida, recording just over 1,300 cases in a single day. After outbreaks subsided throughout April and May, cases began spiking in June and peaked at more than 15,000 cases in mid-July. In July alone, officials confirmed more than 300,000 new cases and the state’s total reached 470,386 by the end of the month.
Since October, cases have been on the rise again. The latest resurgence in coronavirus outbreaks has been a gradual increase in daily cases as opposed to the spike observed in the summer.