Duval Faces Surge In COVID Cases, Hospital Admissions
Duval County is facing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and new hospital admissions amid a national decrease in vaccination rates.
According to the Florida Department of Health, which shifted from releasing daily COVID-19 reports to weekly ones, the state added 23,697 new cases during the week of July 2 to July 8.
That same report had Duval County reporting 2,127 new cases, the highest number of cases reported in the county since Feb. 11, for a 15.7% positivity rate, the highest of any Florida county with a population over 1 million. Within that same population group, Duval has the lowest vaccination rate for residents aged 12 and older at 48%.
Florida’s average sits at 58%.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites Duval’s 7-day case rate as a 52.46% increase from the week prior, which saw 1,420 cases from June 25 to July 1.
New hospital admissions for COVID-19 increased by 73.86% in Duval County to 266 for that week, up from 153 admissions the week prior.
Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties all saw similar surges as well. Clay had 380 cases for a 16.1% positivity rate; Nassau had 214 cases for a 17.6% positivity rate; and St. Johns had 428 cases for a 13.4% positivity rate.
Dr. Mobeen Rathore, an infectious disease specialist with UF Health Jacksonville, told WJCT News partner News4Jax a new surge was possibly hitting the state with a potential peak predicted for late August, something she tied to the new Delta variant that has made up the majority of new cases.
“If you think the Delta variant is bad, the variants are only going to get worse, they’re going to get more serious,” she said.
The Delta variant is considered by the CDC and the World Health organization to be more infectious and may be more likely to result in hospitalization.
On Friday, the CDC released an early-version of a Delta variant report using an Oklahoma outbreak as a case study. Out of 47 COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the report, 4 people were fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms.
The report concluded that vaccines currently approved under Emergency Use Authorization in the U.S. are effective against COVID-19 and its variants, reducing the likelihood of transmission and the severity of symptoms. It also recommended that all eligible residents receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Florida Department of Health has a vaccine locator service, allowing residents to find and schedule a vaccine in their area. Over two dozen vaccine sites are available in Jacksonville.