Florida COVID weekly update: New omicron strain on cusp of becoming dominant subvariant

·3 min read
Daniel A. Varela/dvarela@miamiherald.com

What is the COVID-19 situation like in Florida?

In the past seven days, the state has added 10,778 cases and 53 deaths per day, on average, according to Miami Herald calculations of data published by the CDC.

Over the past three weeks, on average, five fewer cases were logged each day in Florida. This is the first time new cases have stagnated since mid-April.

COVID information shifting to weekly trends. What to know about finding the report

As of Tuesday, June 28, more than 14,517,927 people are fully vaccinated in Florida. The state has logged at least 6,458,505 cases and 75,671 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The number of cases is likely an undercount due to positive results from at-home COVID testing. The state also only tracks resident cases and deaths, excluding nonresidents.

Here’s a breakdown of what to know this week:

Tracking COVID variants

The two new omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, are spreading throughout the United States. They were first detected in South Africa earlier this year.

From June 19-25, the BA.5 strain accounted for 36.6% of U.S. cases and BA.4 accounted for 15.7%, the second and third most dominant subvariants, respectively, according to CDC data.

In the first week of May, the two variants accounted for only about 1 percent of new COVID cases.

In the Southeast region, which includes Florida, BA.5 accounted for 38.6% of cases in the area and BA.4 accounted for 13.7%, the second and third most dominant.

READ MORE: ‘We should definitely be concerned.’ Miami-Dade’s COVID-19 cases, positivity rates soar

COVID spread in South Florida

Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Manatee and Monroe are at a high COVID-19 risk level, according to the CDC. Under the high-risk level, the CDC recommends everyone wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

If you are immunocompromised or at a high risk for severe disease, the CDC recommends wearing a mask as well as avoiding “non-essential” indoor actives in public.

READ MORE: Miami-Dade’s COVID-19 cases, positivity rates soar

Florida COVID-19 hospitalizations

There were 3,746 people hospitalized in Florida, with 365 in the ICU, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services report on Tuesday.

Over the past three weeks, on average, 39 more people were hospitalized each day in Florida, showing an increase in seven-day average hospital trends. During the same time, on average, five more people were in the ICU with COVID each day in Florida, another increase in trends.

At omicron’s January peak, more than 15,000 patients were hospitalized in Florida, according to HHS data.

Miami-Dade County no longer collects and reports COVID hospitalizations data in its “COVID-19 Daily Dashboard.”

Florida COVID-19 vaccinations

About 14,517,927 eligible Floridians — 67.6% of the state’s population — have completed the two-dose series of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or have completed Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, according to the CDC.

About 6,000,973 Floridians have received a booster, about 41.3% of the state’s fully vaccinated population.

Here’s how many people have received a booster in South Florida and Manatee County, according to the CDC:

In Miami-Dade, about 803,268 people, or 34.4% of the fully vaccinated population, have received a booster.

In Broward, about 569,056 people have received a booster, or 40.4% of the fully vaccinated population.

In Palm Beach, about 446,183 people have received a booster, or 44.5% of the fully vaccinated population.

In Monroe, about 22,961 people have received a booster, or 39.1% of the fully vaccinated population.

In Manatee, about 114,470 people have received a booster, or 45.5% of the fully vaccinated population.