State’s coronavirus transmission rate drops from “high” to substantial

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 12:51 AM EST
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Florida’s coronavirus transmission level has dropped from “high” in every county to overall “substantial” in one week with South Florida counties varying from “moderate” in Martin to “substantial” in Palm Beach, Indian River, Okeechobee and Broward with Miami-Dade and St. Lucie still listed as “high,” according to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted Wednesday for the weekend ending Feb. 24. No county in Florida is “low.”

Also as a sign that coronavirus is waning after the omicron variant surge, daily cases are dropping. On Wednesday, 1,749 new daily residents' infections were posted Wednesday by the CDC with 1,392 Sunday, which is the least since 1,329 Dec. 6. One week ago it was 3,929 and the record 76,618 posted Jan. 8. The cumulative total is 5,810,369, which ranks third behind California and Texas.

Florida joined those states in passing the 70,000 residents' deaths milestone on Monday and now has 70,247. In Monday's back-auditing update, the weekly increase was 1,130 one week after 1,040.

And hospitalizations are 2,663 with 4.77% of available beds occupied with coronavirus cases, the fewest since 2,406 on Dec. 27. One week ago it was 3,687 with the record low 1,228 Nov. 29 and the high 17,295 Aug. 29.

In the past week, deaths in South Florida rose by 165 compared with 402 a week ago and 528 two weeks ago.

The state bases transmission levels on cases per 100,000 and positivity rate and assigns each county and state into four categories. "High" is 100 or more cases per 100,000, "substantial" is 50-99.99 per 100,000 and positivity 8-9.99%, "moderate" is 10 to 49.99 cases and 5-7.99% positivity and "low" is under 10 cases and less than 5% positivity. If the two indicators suggest different transmission levels, the higher level is selected.

Only Martin, Franklin and Washington counties are in the "moderate" category.

Hospitalizations and positivity rates are trending lower in South Florida with the latter all under 7%, including 4.28% in Palm Beach County, under the target 5% rate. Broward is the lowest at 4.01% and its cases per 100,000 is the least at 79.63 and deaths rose by 41 compared with 79 the week before. Miami-Dade's rate is nearly the same at 4.06%.

Palm Beach County's per 100,000 rate is 83.71 with only 13 deaths reported in the past week compared with 102 the previous week.

St. Lucie County has the highest rate per 100,000 at 138.90 and Indian River County's positivity rate is the most at 6.9%.

The seven South Florida counties' deaths rise have been trending down. It was 203 six weeks ago.

In all the Palm Beach County has 4,856 deaths, the third most in the state behind Miami-Dade at 10,423 and Broward at 5,587.

The Florida Health Department considers 5% the target rate and the state is listed as 5-7.9% one week after 8-9.99%. In the state report released Friday, the percentage was 5.6% one week 8.2% and eight weeks after a record 31.2%. Twelve weeks ago, it was 2.4%, the lowest since the state went to weekly reports on June 4.

Hospitalization admissions also have decreased in every county, except Palm Beach, which rose to by 2 to 139 and St. Lucie from 30 to 38.

Florida is behind California with 8,388,683 cases, including the one-day U.S. record 143,380 Jan. 11 and 6,027 Wednesday. Texas is at 6,557,619, including 3,584 most recently and a record 74,491 Jan. 13.

Florida's seven-day moving average is 2,332, lowest since reported 2,262 Dec. 11 wit the record 65,286 reported Jan. 11.On Nov. 27 the average was 1,224.

Florida's 16,330 cases in the past week are fifth behind California 54,846, Texas 30,919, North Carolina 19,351, Washington 17,396, New York is seventh with 13,659 including 4,916 in the city and 8,743 elsewhere. Michigan is now sixth with 13,678.

Twice a week the CDC revises new daily cases and deaths in data provided by the state. On other days deaths are only added of ones that occurred the previous day.

In the state report Friday, cases increased by 25,390 compared with a record 429,411 sixt weeks ago.

Also in the state report, fatalities rise rose in one week to 888 compared with 1,330 a weekly earlier but far below the record of 2,448 during the delta surge on Sept. 10, according to the state report.

The state, which reported its first two deaths on March 5, 2020, is in third place for deaths behind California with 84,928, adding 216 in one day, and Texas with 83,899 gaining 206. New York is fourth with 67,447, adding 38 in one day.

In the U.S., hospitalizations declined to 41,944 (5.79% capacity) with the record 160,113 Jan. 20. Until the spike record was 142,315 on Jan. 14 last year. The high during the delta surge was 103,896 Sept. 1.

Florida is third in U.S. in covid hospitalizations with California first with 4,363 (6.8%), Texas second with 4,067 (6.87%). Georgia is fourth with 2,434 (8.13%), New

Florida reported 65,519 tests on Feb. 23, the most recent available day, with the record 276,94 Jan. 3.

On Friday, the CDC revised its guidance on mitigating COVID-19. CDC looks at the combination of three metrics — new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days — to determine the COVID-19 community level.

The levels are low, medium and high.

Every county in South Florida is listed as medium, except for Indian River County, which is low and the only county in the state listed this way. Several states in Florida are high.

Masks are optional in the higher and medium categories but recommended in high, including those immunocompromised or high-risk urged to wear a mask or respirator that gives greater protection.

Here is the breakdown of South Florida counties in the past week for the transmission levels.

Palm Beach: cases 1,253 (1,861 last week), cases per 100,000 83.71 (124.33 last week), positivity 4.28% (6.97% last week), deaths total 4,856, 13 increase (102 last week), new hospitalizations 139 (137 last week).

Martin: cases no data(187 last week), cases per 100,000 no data (116.15 last week), positivity 5.87% (8.88% last week), deaths total 587, decrease of 1 (8 last week), new hospitalizations 15 (54 last week).

St. Lucie: cases 456 (464 last week), cases per 100,000 138.90 (141.34 last week), positivity 5.72% (8.38% last week), death total 1,153, 16 increase (34 last week), new hospitalizations 38 (30 last week).

Indian River: cases 146 (290 last week), cases per 100,000 91.29 (181.34 last week), positivity 6.9% (10.03% last week), deaths total 627, 0 increase (11 last week), new hospitalizations 10 (20 last week).

Okeechobee: cases 35 cases (68 last week), cases per 100,000 83.0 (161.26 last week), positivity 6.83% (11.87% last week), deaths total 169, l4 increase (1 last week), new hospitalizations 4 (9 last week).

Broward: cases 1.555 (2.664 last week), cases per 100,000 79.63 (136.42 last week), positivity 4.01% (6.29% last week), deaths 5,587 total, 41 increase (79 last week), new hospitalizations 153 (242 last week).

Miami-Dade: cases 3,209 (4,691 last week), cases per 100,000 118.11 (172.66 last week), positivity 4.06% (5.55% last week), deaths total 10,423increase (167 last week), new hospitalizations 213 (320 last week).

During the summer, Palm Beach County School District wanted two weeks of moderate transmission to end its mask mandate for students, which is one category below severe. The district achieved that in mid-November.

The state has banned mask mandates for students.

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