COVID-19 case totals in South Florida rose again last week, but that rate of increase is slowing down significantly, which could be a sign case counts in the region are peaking.
The omicron variant has proved far more contagious, but also less deadly, than previous strains. While Florida has set records for case counts in recent weeks, hospitalizations have thankfully not reached the levels seen during the 2020 and 2021 summer surges.
Still, the large number of people getting sick has impacted workflow and businesses in South Florida and elsewhere. Though cases are still rising, the newest set of Department of Health (DOH) data shows cases could soon begin falling for the first time since late November.
The DOH report from two weeks ago saw case totals rising week-to-week by 349% in Miami-Dade County, 394% in Broward County and 385% in Palm Beach County.
Last week, Miami-Dade saw a still significant, but lower, 88% week-to-week increase. Cases increased by 104% in Broward and 106% in Palm Beach.
But the newest set of data saw cases rise just 13% in Miami-Dade, 5% in Broward and 14% in Palm Beach.
The case positivity rates — which measure the share of tests coming back positive — had jumped by between 9.6 and 13.5 percentage points in each county for two weeks straight. Before this week’s report, the weeklong case positivity rate rose in Miami-Dade County from 7% to 27.3% in just two weeks. Broward’s weekly rate jumped from 6.9% to 31.7% in that same span. In Palm Beach County, the share of tests coming back positive went from 6.5% to 30.6% in two weeks.
That metric was up again in all three counties this week. But again, the increase has slowed. That number rose from 27.3% to 31.3% in Miami-Dade, from 31.7% to 33.5% in Broward and from 30.6% to 36.2% in Palm Beach.
It’s unclear whether case counts could begin dropping this week, but it’s likely the dip will happen this month, with several other regions around the country appearing to have peaked as well.
Here are some of the weekly numbers for the previous three weeks throughout the South Florida tri-county area:
— 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. 31-Jan. 6: 110,806 newly confirmed cases, 31.3% positivity rate, 13,284 vaccine doses administered, 93% 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
— Dec. 31-Jan. 6: 50,315 newly confirmed cases, 33.5% positivity rate, 8,308 vaccine doses administered, 82% 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
— Dec. 31-Jan. 6: 27,941 newly confirmed cases, 36.2% positivity rate, 6,339 vaccine doses administered, 74% of 5-and-up population now vaccinated