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COVID cases have dropped sharply in Duval County, but hundreds remain hospitalized

COVID cases are falling in Duval County, but hospitals remain stressed.
Charlie Riedel
COVID cases are falling in Duval County, but hospitals remain stressed.

Duval County is seeing fewer new cases of COVID-19, but the number of people hospitalized remains high, and greater numbers are dying across Florida.

Data released Friday and Monday shows a mixed picture of the pandemic's strength, with cases falling statewide, deaths rising, and hospitalizations up in some places but down across the state.

A total of 10,975 new COVID cases were reported in Duval County last week, fueled by the omicron variant. It was far more than any single week of the COVID delta wave last summer, but it was an improvement after case counts hit a peak of almost 20,000 two weeks ago.

As of Monday morning, 269 patients were hospitalized with COVID across Baptist Health’s five hospitals, more than double the number from three weeks ago.

Ninety-eight percent of the current COVID patients at Baptist Health had not gotten a COVID booster shot, the hospital system said.

In fact, last week saw the smallest number of people getting a vaccine or booster in Duval County since vaccines became widely available. Fewer than 1,500 people got the shot last week, a number that has been declining since mid-January.

On the hopeful side, hospitalizations decreased statewide Monday. Data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that 9,015 Florida inpatients had COVID-19, down from 10,794 a week earlier.

And from Jan. 21 to Jan. 27, the state totaled 198,719 reported new cases, down from 288,793 the previous week, according to numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Health.

But Florida's death toll for the pandemic climbed by 1,192 last week, the largest weekly increase since October, according to Health Department data.

Almost 65,000 Florida residents have died from COVID since the start of pandemic — 1.2% of the people who've been infected.

The Health Department does not release the number of deaths in each county.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Claire joined WJCT as a reporter in August 2021. She was previously the local host of NPR's Morning Edition at WUOT in Knoxville, Tennessee. During her time in East Tennessee, her coverage of the COVID pandemic earned a Public Media Journalists’ Association award for investigative reporting. You can reach Claire at (904) 250-0926 or on Twitter @ClaireHeddles.