The latest on COVID in Florida: It's looking up, but sewage counts rising in 3 counties
The latest COVID-19 wave continues to recede across Florida. Here’s what the latest data says:
In the hospitals
Hospitals statewide tended to 2,008 COVID-positive patients, the fewest since Christmas, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department reported Friday.
How many cases this week?
State health officials logged 21,062 new cases this week, the fewest since the week ending Dec. 15, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
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The latest on sewage testing
Sewage tests from three Florida counties show rising levels of coronavirus particles in wastewater this week, but the rest recorded declines.
Since mid-December, viral material counts have increased in sewage test results from Tampa Bay’s Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, along with Alachua County — home to Gainesville and the University of Florida — according to Boston-based laboratory Biobot Analytics.
Viral counts in Alachua County have spiked 64% since Jan. 11, days after UF’s spring semester started. Biobot testing revealed 1,350 virus molecules per milliliter of wastewater Wednesday, the highest since Sept. 7, when the lab started collecting samples from the county.
Wastewater treatment plants in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orange and Seminole counties, however, continue to report falling molecular tallies, Biobot data said Friday.
Sewage testing from the national WastewaterSCAN initiative had been showing viral increases in Palm Beach County sewage, but now the numbers are falling.
How deadly is the latest wave?
Florida’s COVID death tally grew by 444 people this week, the CDC said, on par with levels seen during this past summer’s surge of infections.
How vulnerable are Floridians to COVID?
Floridians remain more vulnerable to the latest coronavirus strains than most Americans because of low vaccination rates.
Just 10.6% of Florida residents have gotten the latest federally approved COVID booster that fights the virus’ omicron offshoots better than previous vaccine doses, the CDC said Friday. The nationwide rate is 15.7%.
Floridians ages 65 and older, who comprise most COVID deaths, have a 28.5% immunization rate, worse than all but three states: Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. About 40.5% of seniors nationwide are up to date on their shots.
COVID has killed at least 85,370 Floridians and infected more than 7.4 million.
Chris Persaud is The Palm Beach Post's data reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click @ChrisMPersaud and follow him on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: COVID falling in Florida as sewage shows warnings in Tampa Bay, Alachua