COVID level grows worse in Duval County
The surge of COVID-19 across Florida has pushed Duval County into a more serious category of the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now lists Duval as an area of medium COVID-19 spread, the same as St. Johns County. The rest of Northeast Florida is considered low.
The levels are based on a combination of new cases per capita, testing positivity rates and hospitalizations.
Duval County last week recorded 207.36 cases per 100,000 residents. Cases totaled 2,486, 25% higher than the week before, the CDC said.
Duval's testing positivity rate — the percentage of COVID tests that come back positive — increased to 17.54%, up by 2.21%. Experts consider COVID under control at a positivity rate of 5%.
A subvariant of omicron — B.A.2.12.1 — has been spreading across Florida and is expected to become the dominant strain this summer. While the variant is highly contagious, it does not seem to cause more severe cases of COVID — especially among people who are vaccinated and boosted.
Hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients in Duval County amounted to 10.5 per 100,000 residents last week, a 36% increase from the week before. A total of 2.3% of hospital beds were used by COVID patients.
Twenty of Florida's 67 counties — including Duval — are now rated at medium levels for COVID-19 under the CDC's guidelines. Twenty-three are categorized as high.
At the medium level, the CDC advises people to wear a mask if they have symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19. The CDC also recommends a mask on public transportation, although Florida says it's not necessary.
In high-risk counties, the CDC recommends a mask indoors in public places.