Florida reports drop in new daily COVID cases, hospitalizations

Coronavirus cases are taking a tumble.  Florida now has one of the lowest numbers of cases per capita in the country right now. Medical experts are trying to decide whether it’s safe to celebrate.

After weeks of peaks, Florida has finally hit a valley with COVID cases. Wednesday, the state reported only 3,700 new confirmed cases of coronavirus compared to 27,000 cases in a single day in August at the height of the delta variant’s spread. 

"So we went from being one of the worst states, like Texas, to one of the best states. It’s amazing," said Seminole County Medical Director Todd Husty.

The Florida Hospital Association reports coronavirus hospitalizations are down 26% this month. The numbers are so low, the need for testing and vaccine sites is shrinking. 

Clarcona Elementary School in Orange County closes its testing site Sunday, and Camping World Stadium is also closing its testing and vaccinations.

But it’s unclear whether Florida is fully out of the woods yet. 

"I’m having this funny feeling of I’m not certain what’s going to come next," said Husty.

Husty says 70% of eligible people in Seminole County are vaccinated, making it difficult for COVID to spread. But he has one major concern. 

"Our immunity is weaning. As more and more people get farther and farther out from their last dose, then they have less immunity, which means the virus has more opportunity to move around."

AdventHealth said earlier this week positive cases are down across the board except in asymptomatic children, where cases remain steady.

Florida is nearing 57,000 resident deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic started in early 2020, according to a report released Friday by the state Department of Health. As of Thursday, the state totaled 56,667 deaths, up from 55,299 in a report issued last week.

Lags in reporting make it difficult to track when the additional deaths occurred.

The report released Friday also showed that Florida has topped 3.6 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started. As of Thursday, the total was 3,601,755 cases, up from 3,576,571 in a report last week.

The Department of Health said 72 percent of Floridians ages 12 or older had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday. Vaccination rates ranged from 92 percent of the people in Miami-Dade County to 32 percent in Holmes County.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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