Florida Adds Nearly 15,000 Cases, UCF Starts Vaccinations, Lake County adds online appointments - Your Tuesday Update
Florida Has Third Highest Daily Case County Average In U.S.
By Abe Aboraya, WMFE Health Reporter
Florida now has the third highest daily average of new COVID cases in the U.S. after Florida added 14,602 new cases Tuesday.
Florida is averaging about 16,000 new cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University analyzed by NPR. That’s a whopping 66 percent increase over two weeks ago. Only California and Texas have higher daily averages.
What’s more concerning, though, is that the rate of positive test results. Epidemiologists say you want the positivity rate to be under 5 percent - that’s an indication that you’re doing enough testing to be able to track and quarantine people to slow the spread of the virus.
Florida is now at a 13.4 percent positivity rate. That’s approaching the record high of 15 percent set in June. But Florida is now testing far more people every day, nearly 820,000 thousand tests in the last week.
When you see record raw numbers of tests and near-record high positivity rates, it’s an indication that things are going to get worse before they get better.
Florida passed another grim milestone this week: more than 23,071 Floridians have died from COVID-19. Florida is averaging more than 140 deaths per day in the last week, according to Johns Hopkins University.
UCF Begins Vaccinating Employees, Students Who Meet State Qualifications
By Abe Aboraya, WMFE Health Reporter
The University of Central Florida began vaccinating students and staff against COVID-19 Tuesday.
UCF got 1,ooo doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. It’s being offered to UCF’s health care workers, which include doctors and nurses at its medical school and affiliated hospital. students, faculty and staff who are 65 and older.
It’s also being offered to students, faculty and staff who are 65 and older. UCF has about 1,500 health care workers and about 500 employees and students over 65.
Dr. Michael Deichen, associate vice president of student health services, said UCF is prepared to become a mass vaccination site - but it would not be done at its stadium.
“In this case, our plan for vaccinating 4,000 persons per day would take place in our student union," Deichen said. "There’s a grand ballroom that’s quite large.”
Deichen said the vaccine is also being offered to people 65 and older that live with someone who qualifies from UCF.
“And if we don’t fill the slots, we will continue to advance," Deichen said. "But the advancement would be 65 and older. It could be community members we advance to. If we don’t use up the vaccine on our employees, we’ll open it up for community members too.”
Overall, Florida has given nearly 650,000 people at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, that's only about 38 percent of the 1.6 vaccine doses given by the federal government.
Overall, 51,000 Floridians have gotten both doses of the vaccine. But 10,665 people in Florida are overdue to get their second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lake County adds online appointment site for coronavirus vaccine
Joe Byrnes, WMFE
The Lake County Commission approved an appointment system Tuesday for giving the coronavirus vaccine to seniors and health workers.
But the health department continues to offer vaccinations on a first-come, first-served basis.
The county opened its online appointments at 2 p.m. and was all booked up in 15 minutes.
The sign-ups follow confusion and lines from the initial rollout by the health department.
Meanwhile, the department appears to have its mass vaccination sites in Clermont and Mount Dora going like clockwork. Administrator Aaron Kissler says they’re getting more shots in arms compared to most counties.
His sites administered 2,186 shots on Monday. He hopes to have 23,000 vaccinated with a first dose soon.
"There are a lot of people that are frustrated, but there are a lot of people that are thankful," he said Tuesday. "And ... we're listening to the criticism and trying to fix things. And we know that we still have some ways to go and we'll get there. But so proud of my team for getting that many folks vaccinated."
He hopes to get the vaccine to homebound seniors and start using an appointment system provided by the state.