CDC: Alachua County high risk as COVID cases rise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified Alachua County as “high risk” and again recommends that residents wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

The designation is based on data released Thursday showing hospitalizations in Alachua County rose 23.6% between May 18 and May 24. Although hospitals admitted 35 new COVID-positive patients, those patients only occupied 2.1% of staffed inpatient beds, well below the highs of previous surges

The Alachua County positivity rate also continues to trend higher, increasing to 15.45% for the seven days ending May 24. That’s the highest it’s been since the omicron surge was declining in early February

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CDC reported Alachua County logged 666 cases for seven-day period ending May 26, a rate of 247 cases per 100,000 residents. 

The CDC reporting provides a more updated picture of the pandemic than state data, which Florida Department of Health began releasing every other week in March. The state’s latest report, released May 20, shows cases and positivity rates have been steadily increasing since March. 

March through May COVID numbers in Florida
A chart showing Florida’s COVID numbers since March. 

In mid-May, Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and at least two commissioners tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the city to cancel a slew of meetings

Alachua County is one of 10 counties in the state to receive the CDC’s high risk designation, and the only one in North Florida. The others are clustered around the Tampa Bay area and South Florida. 

Nationwide, only 7.76% of all U.S. counties are rated as high risk. 

Levy, Gilchrist, Dixie, Suwannee, Columbia, Bradford and Union counties are all designated as medium risk. 

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