Florida’s COVID-19 case numbers rise again


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Venice Gondolier

COVID-19 cases in Florida have risen for the last three weeks after nine consecutive weeks of decline, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Florida is one of 26 states in which cases have gone up over the past two weeks, according to BeckersHospitalReview.com. They’ve risen in Washington, D.C., as well, it reports.

The state’s increase has been small in numbers — 11,337 cases for the week beginning April 1 compared to 8,037 for the week beginning March 11 — but it still represents a rise of 41%.

And the case numbers reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the week so far are trending toward another small increase.

Only six of Florida’s 67 counties had a higher case rate than the state’s 51.6 cases per 100,000 population, but Sarasota County, at 60.5%, was one of them.

Dade County had the highest rate, at 103.04%, while five smaller-population counties reported no cases.

Charlotte County’s number compared more favorably with the state’s. It had a rate of 43.5 cases per 100,000 population.

For the most part, more cases hasn’t translated into an increase in hospitalizations. After rising for three days last week, they started going down again, dropping to 916 through Monday, though that was an increase of 22 patients from Sunday in fewer reported hospitals.

ICU occupancy ticked up, however, to 103 on Sunday. That was also the census on Monday, though, again, in fewer hospitals, so it could be an undercount.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital reported 10 COVID patients Tuesday, with an ICU census of three.

Its seven-day positivity rate is up to 3.2%, reflecting the trend in the state, whose rate has doubled — going from 1.9% to 3.8% in the past three weeks.

At 4.9%, Sarasota County’s rate was worse than the state’s while Charlotte County’s, at 3.6%, was better.

There’s been one positive increase: The number of vaccine doses administered nearly doubled last week, going from 48,735 doses to 91,963.

Just over 79% were additional or booster doses, with 10,180 people getting their first dose and 8,896 their second.

It said 18 counties reported more cases than vaccine doses administered, again including Sarasota County, which had 267 cases compared to 203 doses.

Charlotte County had 80 new cases and 90 doses of vaccine administered.

Dade County is still the most vaccinated, at 98% of its eligible population, and Holmes County remains the least vaccinated, at 32%.

The rate in Sarasota County is 77%; in Charlotte County it’s 75%.

Only the rate among 30- to 39-year-olds has risen since the March 25 report, ticking up 1 percentage point, to 62%.

That’s also the age cohort that has experienced the most COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic — 990,333 cases, or just under 17% of the state’s total of 5,862,817 cases. The group represents 12.6% of the state’s population.

People 65 and older make up 20.8% of the population and account for 13% of the cases but the vast majority of the deaths — 75.3% of 73,538 fatalities.