Nearly every county in Florida now has ‘high’ level of COVID-19 transmission, CDC says

Nearly every county in Florida is now under the “high” community level of COVID-19 case transmission as of Friday morning due to the newly dominant BA.5 Omicron subvarient.

That’s according to the COVID-19 Community Level metrics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are updated each Thursday.

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Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said the nation had seen a doubling of hospital admissions since early May.

Federal officials said the omicron subvariants is known as BA.4 and BA.5 have been increasing.

“We do not know yet about the clinical severity of BA.4 and BA.5 in comparison to our other omicron subvariants, but we do know it to be more transmissible and more immune evading,” Walensky said, according to a transcript of the briefing.

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All of the counties in Northeast Florida that are part of the Jacksonville area -- Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Clay, Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, and Union -- are under the “high” community transmission level.

Four Southeast Georgia counties considered part of the Jacksonville area -- Brantley, Camden, Charlton, and Glynn -- are also considered to have a “high” transmission level.

Two other Southeast Georgia counties that are part of the Jacksonville area -- Pierce and Ware -- have a “medium” transmission level.

Hospitalizations and case counts have grown so much that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends indoor masking in almost every part of Florida to prevent strain on local medical facilities.

There are a few big exceptions, such as Collier County — home to Naples — along with Glades and Flagler counties, and parts of the western Panhandle.

These are the recommendations from the CDC when your county has a high level of transmission:

Here are the CDC’s recommended actions if your county has a medium level of transmission:

GEORGIA

The Georgia Department of Public Health updates its numbers once a week on Wednesday.

This week’s data from Georgia showed COVID-19 cases are up 24%, rising from 15,394 cases to 19,097 cases this week over last week.

COVID-19 community levels in Georgia, 7/15/2022

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Still, the rate of hospitalizations remains relatively low in Georgia, our sister station WSB-TV in Atlanta reports. There are just over 1,200 COVID-19 patients in Georgia hospitals, according to the GDOH. That represents just 7.5% of hospitalized patients.

Of those people hospitalized last week with the virus in Georgia, 440 were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, 135 had only gotten one dose of the vaccine and 155 were fully vaccinated and boosted.

FLORIDA

The Florida Department of Health releases its COVID-19 data every two weeks on Friday evenings.

The most recent data, released July 1, showed a new case positivity rate of 19.4%. The number of COVID cases during the week of June 17 was 73,780. The following week (June 24), the number of cases rose slightly to 74,481, a 0.95% increase.

COVID-19 Community Levels in Florida, 7/15/22

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released data Wednesday that showed 4,322 Florida inpatients had COVID-19, up from 4,168 in a Tuesday count. Also, the new data said 437 Florida inpatients with COVID-19 were in intensive care units, up from 408 on Tuesday.

During the week of June 24, 52,657 vaccine doses were administered in Florida, according to FDOH data.

Cities, counties and schools in Florida cannot enforce indoor mask requirements because of executive orders and laws Gov. Ron DeSantis signed last year.

In April, a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump struck down the CDC’s mask requirements for trains, planes and buses.

Information from WSB-TV and News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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William Clayton

William Clayton, Action News Jax

Digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax

Amanda Winkle

Amanda Winkle, Action News Jax

Amanda Winkle is the digital content manager for Action News Jax.