South Florida counties remain in ‘high’ COVID-19 community category

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 8:41 PM EDT
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All South Florida counties except Okeechobee remain in the highest of three COVID-19 community levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its weekly update posted Thursday.

Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Broward and Miami-Dade are listed as "high" while Okeechobee is "medium" for back-to-back weeks after one week in the top category.

The only other counties in central to South Florida in medium are Glades and Henry. The only counties "low" are in the Panhandle.

The levels have different commendations to halt the spread out coronavirus, including mask wearing indoors recommended for the most severe level and additional measures for high-risk people.

For medium and low, you are encouraged to "wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19." At the medium level, "if you are at high risk for severe illness, consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precaution.

The first criteria is cases per 100,000 people in the past week with 200 or more considered high. One-week decreases were Palm Beach County, Martin and Borward. Increases were in St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee, Miami-Dade.

Palm Beach County is 309.52, down from 332.78; St. Lucie 310.09 vs. 284.19; Martin 237.27 vs. 242.86, Indian River 285.76 vs. 259.5; Okeechobee 175.49 vs. 128.06; Broward 402.09 vs. 434.0; Miami-Dade 632.22 vs.578.52.

Another criteria s hospital admissions per 100,000, which is high if 20 or more. Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee are 17.9; Indian River 13.4; Broward and Miami-Dade 25.4

And the percent of staffed inpatient beds with covid for a weekly average is considered high if 15% or more. Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee 6.1%, Indian River 6.2%; Broward, Miami-Dade 7.7%.

The CDC determines an overall high level by counting the higher of the two hospitalization rates.

The high categories in three counties reflect surging cases, positivty rates and hospitalizations.

Cases statewide are at the highest level since mid-February (74,257 in past week according to CDC), the positivity rate of 17.2% (Friday) is greatest since early February, hospitalizations (3,612 Thursday with 6.17 capacity) are one day after (3,687, 6.64% capacity), the most since Feb. 23 and deaths' increase in a week, 324, is the most in the United Stares and one week after 269, according to CDC.

The current seven-day rolling daily average is 10,571. The figure 1,127 on March 22 is the lowest since 1,106 June 8, 2020. The record: 65,277 Jan. 11 (456,946 in a week).

On Thursday, 12,501 cases were posted for a total of 6,407,648, behind only California and Texas, with 14,015 June 3. One week ago it was 12,741. The daily record: 76,608 Jan. 8.

The CDC lists overall positivity rates, with the target 5.0% or less, as Palm Beach 19.42%, St. Lucie 23.66%, Martin 16.94%, Indian River 17.68, Okeechobee 9.81%, Broward 21.08%, Miami-Dade 22.52%%. Dropping in one week were Martin and Okeechobee with the other South Florida counties increasing.

One week ago hospitalizations were s 3,500 (5.93%) and April 11 it was 892 (1.58%), least since record-keeping began July 2020, according to Department of Health and Human Services. The record was 17,295 (2.35%) on Aug. 29 during the delta variant surge.

Residents' deaths are 75,411, according to CDC data from Florida, which is in third place behind California and Texas.

The state report doesn't list county deaths' data but the CDC issues weekly reports 17 in Palm Beach, 26 in Miami-Dade, 26 in Broward and less than 10 in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee.

In March, the CDC started designating "community levels." Since the pandemic, the CDC had "community transmission," which is based on cases and tests, and is broken into "low," "moderate," "substantial" and "high." The entire state is listed as "high."

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