COVID cases, hospitalizations on statewide decline

COVID-19 cases are on the decline in Alachua County and across Florida as predicted by experts at the University of Florida.

Researchers updated the model and predictions about how the omicron-driven wave would behave on Jan. 4 stating that it would peak in mid-January. The latest weekly report released on Friday from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and daily Florida Hospital Association (FHA) reports support the prediction.

According to the COVID-19 Weekly Situation Report from the Florida DOH statewide cases decreased for the week of Jan. 14 to Jan. 20 going from 430,095 the previous week to 289,204 and in Alachua County going from a record 6,524 last week to 4,943 cases.

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Overall new state cases were reported as 289,204, with a positivity rate of 26.8 percent, 140 deaths, and 208,805 of vaccines administered.

Ninety-one percent of Floridians 65 and older are now vaccinated, as are 59 percent of 12 to 19-year-olds and 19 percent of 5 to 11-year-olds.

Florida cases went from a positivity rate of 29.4 last week to 26.8 percent in the Jan. 21 report.

Alachua County positivity rate and cases per 100,000 continue to be higher than the state average.

Alachua County’s positivity rate is now 30.7 percent and cases per 100,000 are at 1,812 compared to the state rate of 1,316 per 100,000.

The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) releases on Twitter (@FLHospitalAssn) daily confirmed COVID-19 hospitalization numbers daily for the state.

The numbers started to decline on Jan. 20. The previous daily cases reported on Jan. 19 were 11,560. On Jan. 20 confirmed hospitalizations which dropped to 11,272 on Jan. 21 the hospitalizations dropped to 11,140.

Alachua County adult and pediatric hospitalizations as of Friday increased slightly counter to the statewide trend with 307 adult patients and 11 pediatric patients. A majority of those patients hospitalized, 75 percent, are reported as unvaccinated.

Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) also reports a decrease in new cases.

There were 887 new student cases and 159 new staff cases reported on Jan. 9. The following week there were 494 student cases and 79 staff cases reported Jan. 16.

The downturn comes days after the ACPS superintendent reported to the School Board of Alachua County that staff shortages in classrooms, custodial and transportation were forcing the district to come up with an emergency solution.

The school district continues to struggle to keep all buses operating and on time as dozens of bus drivers have been out of circulation due to COVID-19 related issues.

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