COVID-19 update: Florida breaks daily case record again with 76,887 new infections; hospitalizations pass 9,000

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Florida reported 76,887 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest daily number of the pandemic, and the number of hospital patients with the virus passed 9,000, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The increase in cases comes as a record 151,725 tests are being reported on average per day as of Dec. 30, the most recent data available for testing rates. The state’s average for daily cases has increased for 41 consecutive days, revised CDC data shows, reaching 56,760 as of Friday.

On Thursday, 9,034 patients in Florida hospitals had COVID-19, the highest number since Sept. 17 and a 120% increase since two weeks earlier, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows. The number includes patients admitted with the virus and those who tested positive while hospitalized.

Miami-Dade County’s average daily case rate of 3,678 per 100,000 population is the third-highest of the nation’s 3,143 counties reporting data to the CDC, excluding counties with low population. Richmond and Bronx counties in New York have the highest rates.

Yet COVID-related death reports have remained low in Florida during the omicron surge, and the the state has the second-lowest among other states with a 7-day average of 0.09 deaths a day per 100,000 population. Florida increased its death count by three on Friday.

Broward County’s testing positivity rate is the third highest of Florida’s counties, with 38.3% as of Thursday. Orange County has the highest rate with 40.4%; Palm Beach County’s rate is 37.7% and Miami-Dade County is 35.4%. Public health experts say the virus is considered under control when the COVID-19 test positivity rate is under 5%. Every county in Florida has a rate over 13%.

As of Thursday, at least 4,563,163 Floridians have been infected by COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. An average of 21 Floridians per day have died of COVID over the past week and at least 62,625 have died in total.

Meanwhile, an average of 51,193 vaccinations are being administered per day in Florida as of Thursday, the first decline of 2022. About 63.6% of Floridians are fully vaccinated and 32.7% have received booster shots.