TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – COVID-19 cases continue to be on the rise in Florida as the state reported more than 100,000 cases in the past week. That’s a nearly 50% increase from the previous week.
The state’s new case positivity rate also surged to 18.1%, and the continuing climb is a major concern among infectious disease experts, hospitals and local leaders.
Based on the latest data released by the Florida Department of Health Friday, Florida’s new cases and positivity rate have both increased each of the past six weeks.
The 110,477 new cases in the past week computes to an average of more than 15,700 new cases per day.
Miami-Dade, the state’s most populous county, had the most new cases last week with 15,541.
“The situation is becoming as dire as it was last year, with hospitals reaching capacity, packed emergency rooms, and positivity rates in the two digits. The difference is that this year we have a solution ready with the COVID vaccine,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement.
A new White House report indicates that Miami-Dade and Broward counties are leading the nation in COVID hospitalizations.
“We are doing everything in our power to protect the safety of all our residents and visitors by continuing to ensure vaccines are widely available and requiring masks at County facilities,” Levine Cava said. “Local businesses are doing their part by urging employees to get vaccinated and requiring masks for everyone’s protection. Millions of residents of Miami-Dade have done their part by getting the shot. But the numbers are very clear: roughly nine out of every ten COVID patients at our hospitals are unvaccinated.”
COVID-19 cases are also on the rise among children, according to doctors in South Florida.
“Right now in the hospital, we have 17 patients who are COVID-positive. Six of them are in our ICU, one of them on a ventilator,” Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marcos Mestre told Local 10 News on Friday.
Holtz Children’s Hospital is also seeing uptick in positive cases with kids. They currently have five pediatric hospitalizations. Of those, two are in the ICU.
Holtz Children’s Hospital CMO Dr. Barry Gelman said while the hospital is seeing “more kids testing positive for COVID” at all ages, from infants to adolescents, the numbers in hospitalizations have “roughly stayed the same.”
“For example, our positivity rate in the Holtz emergency department in the month of June was 2.4%,” he said. “And by the end of July, we are 14%, so the virus is circulating more and kids are getting infected.”
The latest data released by the state reflects the period of July 23-29. Florida ended its daily COVID-19 reports last month and now releases weekly metrics on Fridays. (The full report can be seen at the bottom of this page.)
According to the state report, there were 409 new deaths connected to COVID-19 in the past week.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local leaders continue to stress that vaccinations are the key to pulling out of the pandemic.
Currently, 61% of Floridians 12 and older are vaccinated.
The vaccination rates are higher in South Florida, with 78% of people vaccinated in Miami-Dade, 70% in Broward, 70% in Monroe and 65% in Palm Beach.
“Now we call on all those who have yet to get the vaccine: please do so as soon as possible to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community,” Levine Cava said. “We have come too far and sacrificed too much to turn back now, especially not when we have the solution in our hands.
“Our economy is just beginning to rebound and it’s essential that we keep building on the progress we have made. We all must do our part to control the spread and to keep our loved ones safe and our community moving forward.”
For information on where COVID-19 vaccines are available in South Florida, click here.
VIEW THIS WEEK’S FULL REPORT BELOW: