Half of Florida at ‘high’ risk of COVID; infections keep climbing

  • Florida’s average daily COVID-19 cases climbed another 11% in the past week — the 10th consecutive week that infections have gone up. Hospitalizations jumped another 21% over the same seven-day period of May 21-27. That means 10 counties, containing nearly half of the state’s 22 million residents, have “high” community levels of COVID-19, according to federal guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that residents wear masks in public indoor settings in Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.
  • The CDC classified Tampa Bay and South Florida as “high” areas risk on Thursday — a week after the data shows those counties had already reached that level. Due to a data error, eight Florida counties that should have been declared at “high” risk of COVID-19 under CDC guidelines instead appeared as “medium” risk on the agency’s website since May 19. The CDC first acknowledged that four South Florida counties had been mislabeled in a footnote at the bottom of the website, the Miami Herald reported. The Tampa Bay Times reported May 23 that Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties had also been misreported.
  • The White House announced Thursday that the antiviral treatment Paxlovid may soon be available at COVID-19 testing sites across the US However, there may be a larger problem: The federal government can’t keep track of how many doses have been shipped and how many people have been treated with the drug, according to Kaiser Health News. Paxlovid isn’t the only drug facing supply-chain woes. The preventative antiviral Evusheld has been so poorly rationed that it is nearly impossible to get in some states, while doses languish on pharmacy shelves in others, Marketplace reported.
Related: How the CDC’s COVID warning system fails Tampa Bay and Florida

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Overall numbers

66,881: Number of cases reported in Florida over the past week from May 21-27.

9,544: Average cases a day during that seven-day period, an 11% increase from the previous week.

6,125,115: Total number of cases recorded in Florida.

137: Number of deaths reported in the past week.

74,466: Total pandemic deaths in Florida.

Related: Is this the end of public COVID testing sites in Tampa Bay?

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48,433: Vaccinations (first or second doses) administered in the past week, up 15% compared to the previous week.

80%: Total Florida population that is at least partially vaccinated.

67%: Total Florida population that is fully vaccinated.

78%: Total US population that is at least partially vaccinated.

67%: Total US population that is fully vaccinated.

37,142: Booster doses administered in Florida in the last week, up 16% compared to the prior week.

27%: Total Florida population that is boosted.

31%: Total US population that is boosted.

Related: Tampa Bay has ‘high’ COVID levels, masks recommended indoors

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Positivity rates

18.3%: Florida, compared to 16.9% the previous week.

18.2%: Manatee

17.5%: Citrus

17.3%: Hernando

16.5%: Pinellas

15.9%: Hillsborough

14.8%: Not co


Related: Dominant coronavirus mutant contains ghost of pandemic past

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2,027: Florida hospitalizations, a 21% increase compared to the prior week.

560: Tampa Bay admissions, a 24% increase compared to the prior week.

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Related: Long COVID affects more older adults; shots don’t prevent it

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How to get tested

Tampa Bay: Tea Times can help you find the free, public COVID-19 testing sites in the bay area.

Florida: The Department of Health has a website that lists testing sites in the state. Some information may be out of date.

The US: The Department of Health and Human Services has a website that can help you find a testing site.

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How to get vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and up and booster shots for eligible recipients are being administered at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and public vaccination sites. Many allow appointments to be booked online. Here’s how to find a site near you:

Find a site: Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites in your ZIP code.

More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.

Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.

TTY: 888-720-7489

Disability Information and Access Line: Call 888-677-1199 or email DIAL@n4a.org.

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OMICRON VARIANT: Omicron changed what we know about COVID. Here’s the latest on how the infectious COVID-19 variant affects masks, vaccines, boosters and quarantining.

KIDS AND VACCINES: Got questions about vaccinating your kid? Here are some answers.

BOOSTER SHOTS: Confused about which COVID booster to get? This guide will help.

BOOSTER QUESTIONS: Are there side effects? Why do I need it? Here’s the answers to your questions.

PROTECTING SENIORS: Here’s how seniors can stay safe from the virus.

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