The Florida Department of Health released data Tuesday covering Nov. 19-25. That data would usually be released on Friday but was delayed because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The department’s newest report shows a record low weekly case positivity rate during that span in all three major South Florida counties: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. The case positivity rate measures the share of positive COVID-19 tests and can detect whether the virus is spreading more quickly.
Palm Beach County had a 2.3% positivity rate from Nov. 19-25. That number was only 1.9% in Broward and just 1.6% in Miami-Dade. The data covers testing through Thanksgiving day.
It’s true that cases and hospitalizations rose after the holidays during the winter of 2020. But cases last winter were already rising before Thanksgiving. The last several weeks of data have shown the opposite trend in the region in 2021.
The new omicron variant — which some experts warn could be vaccine-resistant — could upend those encouraging trends in the weeks and months ahead. But President Joe Biden has preached caution thus far and has said additional lockdowns would likely not be necessary. While the strain may evade vaccines, it’s unclear if it’s more deadly than the existing COVID-19 variants.
Vaccinations rose in Miami-Dade and Broward in the week before Thanksgiving. But numbers dipped last week, according to the newest report. That’s likely due, however, to the holiday celebrations and the number of people traveling.
According to state data, 89% of individuals aged 5 and up in Miami-Dade have gotten at least one shot. That number is 78% in Broward and 71% in Palm Beach.
Local officials, however, have warned those numbers may be overestimating the region’s actual vaccination rate. Data from specific South Florida ZIP codes have shown rates of about 100%, likely due to so-called “vaccine tourists” who visit the region for a shot despite not residing there. It’s unclear how much that has inflated the region’s numbers.
Here are some of the weekly numbers for the previous three weeks throughout the South Florida tri-county area:
— Nov. 5-11: 2,124 newly confirmed cases, 1.7% positivity rate, 20,127 vaccine doses administered, 87% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated
— Nov. 12-18: 1,967 newly confirmed cases, 1.7% positivity rate, 20,224 vaccine doses administered, 88% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated
— Nov. 19-25: 1,801 newly confirmed cases, 1.6% positivity rate, 17,588 vaccine doses administered, 89% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated
— Nov. 5-11: 1,037 newly confirmed cases, 2.2% positivity rate, 11,325 vaccine doses administered, 76% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated
— Nov. 12-18: 1,067 newly confirmed cases, 2.1% positivity rate, 12,787 vaccine doses administered, 77% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated
— Nov. 19-25: 887 newly confirmed cases, 1.9% positivity rate, 11,113 vaccine doses administered, 78% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated
— Nov. 5-11: 713 newly confirmed cases, 2.5% positivity rate, 7,631 vaccine doses administered, 70% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated
— Nov. 12-18: 802 newly confirmed cases, 2.5% positivity rate, 7,381 vaccine doses administered, 71% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated
— Nov. 19-25: 638 newly confirmed cases, 2.3% positivity rate, 6,958 vaccine doses administered, 71% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated