South Florida COVID-19 cases jump again, positivity rates above 30% in Broward, Palm Beach
At-home COVID-19 tests are the latest too in the Biden administration's pandemic strategy.

Case counts are rising faster than at any point during the pandemic, but symptoms are milder.

COVID-19 cases in South Florida nearly doubled again during the final week of 2021, according to data from the Department of Health.

The share of cases coming back positive is at an all-time weekly high across the tri-county area, with that metric eclipsing 30% in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Hospitalizations are also rising across the state. But with the omicron variant causing less severe symptoms, hospitalizations and deaths are not near the peaks seen during last summer’s deadly delta wave.

Case counts are rising faster than at any point during the pandemic, however, as 2022 begins. That’s due to omicron’s high transmissibility. Case counts have spiked in South Florida the past three weeks. While case positivity rates were at near pandemic lows in late November and early December, they’re now at record highs just weeks later due to the omicron variant.

Nearly 1 in 3 tests are coming back positive in Broward and Palm Beach County. More than a quarter of tests are positive in Miami-Dade County as well.

That’s led to dueling concerns as the virus rapidly spreads. While officials are trying to cut down on the surging case counts, some have also worried that widespread quarantines could cripple parts of society as workers call out sick, even if symptoms are more mild for most.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its quarantine guidelines for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. The CDC now recommends a five-day quarantine for asymptomatic patients, down from 10 days, with masking required for an additional five days.

Vaccinations also dipped last week in all three major South Florida counties after rising the week prior. Officials have recorded nearly 5.1 million positive tests in the tri-county area since the start of the pandemic.

Here are some of the weekly numbers for the previous three weeks throughout the South Florida tri-county area:


— Dec. 10-16: 11,689 newly confirmed cases, 7% positivity rate, 18,287 vaccine doses administered, 91% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated

— Dec. 17-23: 52,428 newly confirmed cases, 16.6% positivity rate, 21,504 vaccine doses administered, 92% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated

— Dec. 24-30: 98,437 newly confirmed cases, 27.3% positivity rate, 14,704 vaccine doses administered, 93% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated


— Dec. 10-16: 4,770 newly confirmed cases, 6.9% positivity rate, 10,789 vaccine doses administered, 80% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated

— Dec. 17-23: 23,575 newly confirmed cases, 19.1% positivity rate, 13,434 vaccine doses administered, 81% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated

— Dec. 24-30: 48,018 newly confirmed cases, 31.7% positivity rate, 9,308 vaccine doses administered, 81% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated

Palm Beach

— Dec. 10-16: 2,445 newly confirmed cases, 6.5% positivity rate, 6,279 vaccine doses administered, 73% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated

— Dec. 17-23: 11,860 newly confirmed cases, 17.1% positivity rate, 7,819 vaccine doses administered, 73% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated

— Dec. 24-30: 24,488 newly confirmed cases, 30.6% positivity rate, 5,536 vaccine doses administered, 74% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]

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