Florida’s COVID-19 transmission rate drops from high to substantial

Florida is maintaining its downward trend in new COVID-19 cases. The Department of Health reported 15,314 (about 2,187 a day) for the week of Oct. 15-21 compared to 19,519 (2,788 a day) for the week of Oct. 8-14.

DOH reported 25,792 (3,970 a day) for Oct. 1-7, 37,772 new cases (5,376 a day) for Sept. 24-30, 56,325 new cases (8,046 a day) for Sept. 17-23 and 75,906 (10,843 a day) from Sept. 10-16.

The cumulative total since March 2020 climbed to 3,635,126.

DOH reported 100,012 new cases for the week of Sept. 3-9, 129,240 for Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 151,749 for Aug. 20-26, 150,118 for Aug. 13-19, 151,415 for Aug. 6-12 and 134,506 for July 30-Aug. 5.

DOH added 73,199 more cases to the tally for July 16-22, 45,603 for July 9-15, 23,748 for July 2-8, 15,978 for June 25-July 1 and 11,873 for June 18-24.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the transmission rate statewide in Florida is now substantial, down from high, which it had been for the past few months. The rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 decreased by 25% compared to 32% the week before.

Hospital admissions decreased by 18%. Two percent of hospitals statewide were reporting supply shortages and 16% reported staff shortages.

Death rate

DOH reported a statewide death toll of 58,803 for Oct. 15-21 — 944 more than the week of Oct. 8-14. According to the CDC, the rate of deaths per 100,000 in Florida decreased by 78% compared to 86% the week before.

As of Oct. 21, 29 deaths had been reported in children under age 16 (one more than the week before), 408 in the age group 16-29 (eight more than the week before), 1,055 for ages 30-39 (24 more than the week before), 2,564 for ages 40-49 (71 more than the week before), 5,807 for ages 50-59 (144 more than the week before), 4,796 for ages 60-64 (84 more than the week before) and 44,144 for ages 64 and up (612 more than the week before).

Positivity rate

The state’s new case positivity rate continues to go down, coming in at 3.4% for Oct. 15-21 compared to 3.8% for 8-14, 4.8% for the week of Oct. 1-7, 6.5% for Sept. 24-30, 8.6% for Sept. 17-23 and 11.2% for Sept. 10-16.

DOH reported a rate of 13.5% for the week of Sept. 3-9 and 15.2% for Aug. 27-Sept. 2, which was a decrease from 16.8% from the week of Aug. 20-26 and the first decline in the positivity rate since July.

The highest positivity rate for Oct. 15-21 was 4.6% for ages 12 and under, 4.3% for ages 12-19 and 3.5% for ages 40-49.

The lowest positivity rate, 3.0%, was reported in ages 65 and above and ages 60-64 and 3.1% for ages 50-59 and 20-29.

Pinellas County

In Pinellas County, the new case positivity rate for Oct. 15-21 was 3%, down from 3.7% for Oct. 8-14, 5.2% for Oct. 1-7, 6.8% for Sept. 24-30, 7.9% for Sept. 17-23, 11.8% for Sept. 10-16, 14.7% for Sept. 3-9 and 16.3% for Aug. 27-Sept.

Pinellas County’s new case count for Oct. 15-21 was 559 (about 80 a day) compared to 790 (113 a day) for Oct. 8-14, 1,078 (154 a day) for Oct. 1-7.

The cumulative case count rose to 133,980.

The CDC reports that the transmission rate in Pinellas remains at substantial down from high as it had been for the last few months. CDC reported a 31% decrease in new cases over the past seven days. New hospital admissions totaled 236. The rate of new admissions went down by 11%. CDC reported 42 deaths in the past seven days with a death rate of 4.31 per 100,000 — a 14% decrease from the week before.

Pinellas County launched its new COVID-19 dashboard Sept. 17, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/dashboard/.

The dashboard includes details on testing, vaccinations and information from local hospitals. As of Oct. 21, about half the county’s hospitals were reporting moderate stress and half were reporting low stress. Only one, Baycare Alliant Hospital in Dunedin, was experiencing high stress.

Countywide, the stress level was high with 69% of regular beds in use with 6% by COVID patients. Seventy percent of ICU beds were in use with 14% by a COVID patient. The stress level was moderate.

Information about COVID in Pinellas is available at https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/.

Vaccination rate

DOH reported that the state’s vaccination rate increased by 1% for Oct. 15-21 with 73% of ages 12 and older receiving at least one dose.

As of Oct. 21, DOH reported that 13,865,300 Floridians had received a COVID-19 shot with 1,709,544 receiving a first-dose only and 11,279,765 completing the one- or two-shot series. DOH also reported that 875,991 had taken the additional booster shot.

According to DOH, 89% of those 65 and older had received at least one shot, 84% of ages 60-64, 78% of ages 50-59, 72% of ages 40-49, 64% of ages 30-39, 54% of ages 20-29 and 56% of ages 12-19.

In Pinellas County, 602,257 had received at least one dose of vaccine out of a population of 992,298, or 68%, a 1% increase from last week. According to the county’ dashboard, 65.5% have received at least one shot, and 58.7% of residents are fully vaccinated, meaning they have received either one or two-shots as required.

United States and global numbers

According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of 12:21 p.m. Oct. 23, 45.4 million cases and 735,507 deaths had been reported in the United States, and 243.23 million cases had been reported worldwide with 4.94 million deaths. According to the resource center, 58% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.

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