Florida’s COVID-19 deaths top 73,000; cases climb past 5.8 million

Florida Department of Health released its latest COVID-19 report March 25. It shows an increase of 8,774 cases from March 18-24. The cumulative total rose to 5,841,469.

DOH no longer provides weekly situation reports. The last report was released on March 11 for the week of March 4-10. No information was available for the week of March 11-17.

DOH added 10,288 cases of COVID-19 (about 1,470 a day) for the week of March 4-10, continuing the downward trend that began not long after the first of the year. 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 73,027, up 1,167 from two weeks ago (March 4-10). As of March 24, 42 deaths had been reported in children under age 16, 489 in the age group 16-29, 1,306 for ages 30-39, 3,082 for ages 40-49, 7,161 for ages 50-59, 5,923 for ages 60-64 and 55,024 for ages 64 and up.

DOH reported a positivity rate of 2.3% for March 18-24, down slightly from 2.4% for March 4-10. The positivity rate has been trending downward since Dec. 31-Jan. 6 when DOH reported it at 31.2%.

By age group, the highest new case positivity rate as of March 24 was 2.5% for ages 65 and up and 20-29, 2.4% for ages 12-19, and 2.2% for ages 30-39, 50-59 and 60-64. The lowest rate was 2.0% for ages 5-11, and 2.1% for ages younger than 5 and ages 40-49.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the transmission rate for COVID-19 in Florida and Pinellas County had dropped to low.

Case count and positivity rate in Pinellas

Florida’s COVID-19 deaths top 73,000; cases climb past 5.8 million

The number of COVID 19 cases reported weekly has gone down in 2022, according to a chart of testing results from Pinellas County. Pinellas began the New Year with a spike in positive results and a record-number of new cases. The spike caused by the omicron variant was much more pronounced than the one this summer from the delta variant.

DOH documented 347 new cases of COVID-19 in Pinellas County in its report for March 18-24 released March 25. No information was available for the week of March 11-17.

For the week of March 4-10, DOH reported 798 new cases (about 114 a day), a slight increase compared to the 714 new cases (about 102 a day) reported for Feb. 25-March 3. The numbers have been declining steadily since the first of the year. DOH reported 4,316 (about 2,045 a day) for Jan. 7-13.

Florida’s COVID-19 deaths top 73,000; cases climb past 5.8 million

Pinellas County’s positivity rate decreased again this week, according to 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 March 18-24 was 2.2%, down from 4.5% reported the week of March 4-10. DOH reported a positivity rate of 3.9% for Feb. 25-March 3. It was the first increase in 2022.

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 confirmed 27 deaths in Pinellas in the past seven days compared to 42 the previous week. The state DOH does not report the deaths by county. CDC reported 125 new hospital admissions in Pinellas over the past seven days compared to 101 last week.

According to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard, covid19.pinellascounty.org/dashboard/, as of March 17, 1% of local hospitals were reporting high stress levels for the number of beds occupied by a COVID-19 patient and 0% was reporting a low stress level for ICU beds. The daily seven-day average of beds in use by a COVID-19 patient was 48.

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

Vaccination rate

The state’s vaccination rate for those ages 5 and older has remained at 74% for several weeks. According to the report for March 18-24, 15,452,648 Floridians have received a COVID-19 shot with 2,127,739 receiving a first-dose only and 8,216,308 completing the one- or two-shot series. In addition, 5,108,601 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, 79% of ages 40-49, 71% of ages 30-39, 62% of ages 20-29, 60% of ages 12-19 and 23% for ages 5-11.

In Pinellas County, DOH reports that 69% or 656,875 residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. According to the county’ dashboard, as of March 25, 73.2% 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 26, 79.94 million cases and 976,541 deaths had been reported in the United States, and 479.18 million cases had been reported worldwide with 6.12 million deaths.

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