'Much better': Florida COVID-19 cases at its lowest since late July

COVID-19 cases in Florida continue to drop from summer highs. The daily average this week was the lowest the state has seen since the end of July.

The number of weekly COVID-19 cases in Florida has gone down, according to new state numbers. The latest weekly total of 75,906 is about half of what the state was seeing in the middle of August at more than 150,000 cases for three weeks in a row.

"It’s telling us we’re heading in a much better direction than we’ve been in," said Dr. Jason Salemi, University of South Florida College of Public Health.

Dr. Salemi is an associate professor of Epidemiology and analyzes COVID-19 data in the state.

MORE NEWS: Brian Laundrie has yet to be located as Florida officials resume search Monday

"I don’t think it’s anything to pat ourselves on the back about because that’s still a really high number," said Dr. Salemi. "We’d like to see 1,000 or fewer cases a day and the fact that we’re still nearly at 11,000 per day is something that we have a lot of work left to be done."

In Orange County, 72 percent of eligible residents have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Mayor Jerry Demings is trying to get all county employees vaccinated. So far, all the county unions except the firefighters union have agreed to have their members vaccinated.

"While you have individual rights, sometimes your rights cannot trump the greater collective of our community," said Mayor Demings on Friday.

Florida has also hit a grim milestone this week as more than 51,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the state.

MORE NEWS: FIFA World Cup looks for 2026 host city: Orlando could be a top pick

"We’ve had 81 weeks during this pandemic and in just the past seven weeks alone the number of deaths in people under 40 years of age has doubled, so it just goes to show you how transmissible this delta variant has been."

Dr. Salemi predicts that the number of COVID-19 deaths will also soon decrease because he says cases and hospitalizations have gone down.  
"I also think the Delta variant has burned through the population, I think we have so many people who know that whether they have immunity from the vaccine or natural immunity from getting infected because just so many people got infected, I don’t think it will send us on an upward trajectory, I think the numbers will continue to go down," said Dr. Salemi.

 Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.