Coronavirus update

Florida Department of Health reported a big jump in new COVID-19 cases in the weekly report for the week of Dec. 10-16. New cases totaled 29,568 (about 4,224 a day) a significant increase from the week of Dec. 3-9 with 13,530 new cases (about 1,933).

The cumulative total since March 2020 rose to 3,739,348.

DOH reported 10,892 (about 1,556 a day) for Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 9,663 new cases (about 1,380 a day) for the week of Nov. 19-25. DOH reported 10,828 new cases (about 1,547 a day) for the week of Nov. 12-18, the first increase in case numbers since August.

DOH reported 10,746 new cases of COVID-19 (about 1,535 a day) for the week of Nov. 5-11, 11,069 new cases (about 1,581 a day) for Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 12,280 (about 1,754 a day) new cases Oct. 22-28, 15,314 (about 2,187 a day) Oct. 15-21, 19,519 (2,788 a day) Oct. 8-14 and 25,792 (3,970 a day) Oct. 1-7.

The numbers had been much higher for the fall and late summer months. DOH reported 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, 100,012 new cases for the week of Sept. 3-9 and 129,240 for Aug. 27-Sept. 2.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida’s transmission rate was high as of Dec. 28, up from substantial reported on Dec. 11, which is up from moderate reported three weeks ago.

Death toll

DOH reported a statewide death count of 62,220 — 294 more than the week of Dec. 3-9 with a death toll of 62,026.

DOH reported 325 new deaths from Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 153 for the week of Nov. 19-25, 538 more deaths the week of Nov. 12-18 and 384 more for the week of Nov. 5-11.

Death reports are often delayed so the date a person died could be days or weeks prior to when it is reported.

As of Dec. 16, 31 deaths had been reported in children under age 16 (the same as the week before), 439 in the age group 16-29 (six more than the week before), 1,150 for ages 30-39 (seven more than the week before), 2,768 for ages 40-49 (14 more than the week before), 6,317 for ages 50-59 (28 more than the week before), 5,104 for ages 60-64 (21 more than the week before) and 46,390 for ages 64 and up (118 more than the week before).

Positivity rate

The state’s new case positivity rate jumped to 5.4% for Dec. 10-16, more than twice the rate of 2.6% reported for the week of Dec. 3-9. DOH reported a positivity rate of 2.5% for the week of Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2.4% for the week of Nov. 19-25 and 2.5% for Nov. 12-18 and Nov. 5-11.

The rate had been steadily decreasing. DOH reported a positivity rate of 2.6% for the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 3.0% for Oct. 22-28, 3.4% for Oct. 15-21, 3.8% for 8-14, 4.8% for Oct. 1-7, 6.5% for Sept. 24-30, 8.6% for Sept. 17-23 and 11.2% for Sept. 10-16.

By age group, the highest new case positivity rate for Dec. 10-16 was 9% for ages 20-29, and 7.3% for ages 30-39.

The lowest positivity rate, 2.4%, was reported in ages 65 and up, and 3.2 for ages 60-64.

Pinellas County

In Pinellas County, the new case positivity rate for Dec. 10-16 was 2.8%, up slightly from 2.7% reported Dec. 3-9.

The positivity rate was up from 2.4% reported Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2.3% for Nov. 19-25 and 2.1% for Nov. 12-18 and 2% on Nov. 5-11, 2.2% for Oct. 29-Nov. 4 and 2.1% for Oct. 22-28.

The last time the positivity rate was higher was Oct. 15-21 when it was 3%.

Pinellas County’s new case count for Dec. 10-16 was 573 (about 82 a day) compared to 536 (about 77 a day) for Dec. 3-9 and 420 (about 60 a day) reported for Nov. 26-Dec. 2.

The cumulative case count rose to 137,219.

DOH reported 357 new cases (about 51 a day) for Nov. 19-25 and 353 (about 50 a day) for Nov. 12-18, 383 new cases (about 55 a day) for Nov. 5-11, 361 (about 52 a day) for Oct. 29-Nov. 4 and 397 (about 57 a day) for Oct. 22-28.

The last time, the new case count was higher than the one reported Dec. 30 was Oct. 15-21 with 559 (about 80 a day). DOH reported 790 (113 a day) for Oct. 8-14 and 1,078 (154 a day) for Oct. 1-7.

The CDC reports that the transmission rate in Pinellas is back up to substantial. It had decreased to moderate for about a month. CDC reported a 6% increase in new cases over the past seven days. New hospital admissions totaled 95. The rate of new admissions decreased by 11%. CDC reported 13 deaths in the past seven days and the death rate increased by 86%.

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

Vaccination rate

CDC has approved a lower dose Pfizer vaccine for children age 5 and older.

Booster shots have now been approved for all ages 18 and older who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago and those that have taken the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As of Dec. 9, 3,710,670 booster shots had been administered.

An increased emphasis has been placed on getting more people vaccinated with the discovery of the Omicron variant, which some experts believe is the cause of the rapid spread of COVID-19. The first case in Florida was reported Dec. 7 by a hospital in Tampa.

DOH reported that the state’s vaccination rate remained at 70% for Dec. 10-16, the same as last week. As of Dec. 16, 14,647,710 Floridians had received a COVID-19 shot with 1,927,357 receiving a first dose only and 9,009,683 completing the one- or two-shot series.

According to DOH, 90% of those 65 and older had received at least one shot, 88% of ages 60-64, 81% of ages 50-59, 76% of ages 40-49, 68% of ages 30-39, 59% of ages 20-29, 58% of ages 12-19 and 12% for ages 5-11.

In Pinellas County, 630,343 had received at least one dose of vaccine out of a population of 992,298, or 66%, the same as last week. According to the county’s dashboard, as of Dec. 17, 69.4% have received at least one shot, and 61.5% 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 2:21 p.m. Dec. 18, 50.74 million cases and 806,168 deaths had been reported in the United States, and 274.10 million cases had been reported worldwide with 5.349 million deaths.

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