Florida cases tick up, infection rate remains one of the lowest in the country

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 4:44 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE/CAP NEWS, Fla. (WCJB) - Weekly COVID cases have been steadily rising in the sunshine state over the past three weeks, with a 24% increase from the week of November 26th to the week of December 3rd alone.

13,530 COVID cases were reported last week.

It Is minuscule compared to this summer when the state was racking up more than 20,000 cases a day, but epidemiologists say it is something to keep an eye on.

“The uptick in cases is not necessarily unexpected,” said Dr. Cindy Prins, an epidemiologist at the University of Florida.

Last year, the state’s winter surge was worse than the 2020 summer spike, but Dr. Prins does not expect a repeat this winter.

“This year we have the benefit of vaccines. So I don’t expect our winter spike to be quite as high,” said Dr. Prins.

USF epidemiologist Dr. Jason Salemi points out Florida currently has some of the lowest infection and hospitalization rates in the country.

“We’re 4th lowest in the country on new hospitalization rates,” said Dr. Salemi.

But Dr. Salemi notes it is not yet clear how Omicron will play into a potential winter surge.

“The early indications are that it’s less likely to cause severe illness, but I think it’s a little too quick to say that definitively,” said Dr. Salemi.

One thing is clear.

Even if we do see a winter spike, the Governor has no intentions of returning to lockdowns or mandates.

The experts we spoke with encouraged Floridians to take their own precautions, especially if they are at higher risk for severe disease.

“Wearing masks and definitely getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Prins.

According to the state’s latest COVID report, 70% of Floridians aged five and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Of Floridians aged 65 and up, 90% have been vaccinated.

Both epidemiologists said people should also consider getting a booster shot if they were vaccinated more than six months ago, especially older Floridians and those with preexisting conditions.

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