With case counts falling further in South Florida, each of the region’s three major counties are now seeing the lowest case positivity rates since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
According to the latest weekly report from the Department of Health, just 1.8% of tests in Miami-Dade County came back positive from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. That same number was just 2.3% in Broward County and 2.9% in Palm Beach County.
Those are the lowest seven-day numbers outright in Broward and Miami-Dade. Palm Beach has tied its previous low case positivity rate, which the region also saw in early June 2021 — prior to this summer’s surge — and Oct. 2020.
The milestones come as cases have been consistently falling since late August.
It appears all three counties are nearing a bottom, as the rate of reduction in cases is shrinking as well. From late August through mid-October, raw case counts fell week-to-week in Palm Beach County by an average of 23% per week. That number was 22% in Broward and 20% in Miami-Dade.
Last week, raw case counts fell just 17% in Palm Beach from the week prior. Broward saw a 19% reduction while cases dropped just 7% in Miami-Dade. This week, Miami-Dade saw just a 5% drop. That number was 14% in Broward and 10% in Palm Beach.
That’s not to say cases are set to start rising again. Instead, South Florida may be nearing the endemic stage of the outbreak. That means COVID-19 could be akin to the flu, where cases continue to float around, but large outbreaks are rare.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has been making the argument that the pandemic phase of COVID-19 is ending. Gottlieb repeated those thoughts Friday as a study showed a new treatment pill from Pfizer reduced deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 by 90%. Gottlieb now works as a board member for Pfizer.
That’s thanks to progress in the vaccination push, though thousands died in the state this past summer as the delta variant swept through Florida. South Florida — and the rest of the state — would of course welcome an official end to the pandemic phase, as tourism is such a huge driver for the economy.
Here are some of the weekly numbers for the previous three weeks throughout the South Florida tri-county area:
— Oct. 15-21: 2,379 newly confirmed cases, 2.2% positivity rate, 13,217 vaccine doses administered, 93% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated
— Oct. 22-28: 2,215 newly confirmed cases, 2% positivity rate, 13,449 vaccine doses administered, 94% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated
— Oct. 29-Nov. 4: 2,099 newly confirmed cases, 1.8% positivity rate, 12,121 vaccine doses administered, 95% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated
— Oct. 15-21: 1,560 newly confirmed cases, 2.9% positivity rate, 6,833 vaccine doses administered, 82% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated
— Oct. 22-28: 1,271 newly confirmed cases, 2.6% positivity rate, 6,554 vaccine doses administered, 83% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated
— Oct. 29-Nov. 4: 1,099 newly confirmed cases, 2.3% positivity rate, 5,499 vaccine doses administered, 83% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated
— Oct. 15-21: 1,062 newly confirmed cases, 3.4% positivity rate, 3,536 vaccine doses administered, 75% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated
— Oct. 22-28: 879 newly confirmed cases, 3% positivity rate, 3,962 vaccine doses administered, 75% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated
— Oct. 29-Nov. 4: 793 newly confirmed cases, 2.9% positivity rate, 3,491 vaccine doses administered, 76% of 12-and-up population now vaccinated