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Florida Department of Health added another 14,148 new cases of COVID-19 (about 2,021 a day) for the week of Feb. 25-March 3, according to the weekly situation report released March 4. The cumulative count since March 2020 climbed to 5,814,517.

The latest numbers continue a downward trend that started in January. DOH reported 25,640 new cases for Feb. 18-24, an average of about 3,662 a day.

DOH reported 42,473 new cases (about 6,068 cases a day) for the week of Feb. 11-17, 103,022 new cases (about 14,717 a day) for Feb. 4-10 and 132,622 new cases (about 18,946 a day) for Jan. 28-Feb. 3.

DOH reported 198,719 new cases (about 28,388 cases a day) for the week of Jan. 21-27 and 289,204 new cases (about 41,314 a day) for Jan. 14-20. DOH reported 430,297 new cases the week of Jan. 7-13, which seems to have been the peak of the surge prompted by the highly contagious omicron variant.

The state’s death toll increased to 70,997, which is 1,207 more than the number reported for the week of Feb. 18-24. DOH reported an increase of 888 for Feb. 11-17, 1,293 for Feb. 4-10 and 1,324 more deaths for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3.

As of March 3, 42 deaths had been reported in children under age 16, 481 in the age group 16-29, 1,269 for ages 30-39, 3,022 for ages 40-49, 6,993 for ages 50-59, 5,746 for ages 60-64 and 53,444 for ages 64 and up.

The state’s positivity rate dropped to 3.3% down from 5.6% for Feb. 18-24 compared to 8.2% for the week of Feb. 11-17. DOH reported a positivity rate of 14.3% for Feb. 4-10, 18% for Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 23.5% for Jan. 21-27, 26.8% for Jan. 14-20, 29.3% for the week of Jan. 7-13 and 31.2% reported for Dec. 31-Jan. 6.

By age group, the highest new case positivity rate as of March 3 was 3.8% for ages 12-19, 3.6% for ages 65 and up, and 3.4% for ages 5-11. The positivity rate for ages less than 5 and 40-49 was 3.3%, 3.2% for ages 60-64. The lowest positivity rate, 3%, was reported in ages 20-29 and 30-39 and 3.1% for ages 50-59.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the transmission rate for COVID-19 in Florida and Pinellas County has dropped from high to substantial.

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A decrease in the number of weekly cases is shown on the latest chart of COVID-19 testing results in Pinellas. Pinellas began the New Year with a spike in positive results from COVID-19 testing and a record-number of new cases. You can see from the chart that the spike caused by the omicron variant is much more pronounced than the one this summer from the delta variant.

DOH documented 714 new COVID-19 cases (about 102 a day) in Pinellas County for the week of Feb. 25-March 3, compared to 1,318 (about 188 a day) for the week of Feb. 18-24. The cumulative case count increased to 206,891. The new case rate went down by 45%, according to the CDC.

DOH reported 2,086 new COVID-19 cases (about 298 a day) for the week of Feb. 11-17, 4,004 new cases (about 572 a day) for Feb 3-10, 5,717 cases (about 817 a day) for Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 8,984 (about 1,283 a day) for Jan. 21-27, 11,779 (about 1,683 a day) for Jan. 14-20 and 14,316 (about 2,045 a day) for Jan. 7-13.

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Pinellas County’s positivity rate also is decreasing as shown on this chart found on the county’s website. At the peak of the latest surge caused by the omicron variant the positivity rate was 27.5% compared to 20.6% in August when the delta variant was most prevalent.

The county’s new case positivity rate for Feb. 25-March 3 was 3.9% down from 7.1% on Feb. 18-24. DOH reported a positivity rate of 9.3% for Feb. 11-17, 14.1% for Feb. 4-10, 18% reported for Jan. 28-Feb. 3. The positivity rate has been slowly declining going from 25.2% for Jan. 21-27, 26.8% for Jan. 14-20, 27.5% for Jan. 7-13 and 25.6% for Dec. 31-Jan. 6.

CDC reported 128 new hospital admissions in Pinellas over the past seven days compared to 242 last week with a 28% decrease in the rate of admissions.

According to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard, covid19.pinellascounty.org/dashboard/, as of Feb. 24, 5% of local hospitals were reporting high stress levels for the number of beds occupied by a COVID-19 patient and 17% were reporting a low stress level for ICU beds. The daily seven-day average of beds in use by a COVID-19 patient was 142.

CDC confirmed 41 deaths in Pinellas in the past seven days compared to less than 10 the previous week with a 4% increase in the death rate. DOH does not report the deaths by county.

For information about where to get testing, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/testing/.

Vaccination rate

The state’s vaccination rate for those ages 5 has remained at 74% for the past few weeks. According to the report for Feb. 25-March 3, 15,418,039 Floridians have received a COVID-19 shot with 2,134,033 receiving a first-dose only and 8,226,833 completing the one- or two-shot series. In addition, 5,057,173 have taken a booster shot.

According to DOH, 95% of those 65 and older had received at least one shot, 90% of ages 60-64, 83% of ages 50-59, 78% of ages 40-49, 71% of ages 30-39, 62% of ages 20-29, 60% of ages 12-19 and 22% for ages 5-11.

In Pinellas County, DOH reports that 69% or 656,053 residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. According to the county’ dashboard, as of March 6, 73% of Pinellas residents are fully vaccinated, meaning they have received either the one or two-shots as required.

Information about COVID and where to get vaccinated in Pinellas is available at https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/.

United States and global numbers

According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of 12:20 p.m. March 7, 79.29 million cases and 958,897 deaths had been reported in the United States, and 447 million cases had been reported worldwide with 6 million deaths.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at sporter@tbnweekly.com.