COVID Report: Florida Falls to 49th in US for New Cases and OC Improves to Orange Level


Here’s this week’s COVID-19 report with new cases, positivity, and hospitalization data from Florida and around Walt Disney World as of October 18, 2021. Plus, an update on where Orange County is on the Map of CDC Community Broadcast, which tracks the level numbers must be reached before Walt Disney World considers removing the indoor mask rules.

We’ll start with the latest report from the Florida Department of Health, which shows another significant drop in new weekly cases at 19,519. This is the lowest number in the last 10 weeks, which is the age of the report. As a reminder, Florida surpassed 150,000 weekly cases for several consecutive weeks in August. As of early September, weekly cases were still over 100,000.

Florida’s progressive positivity rate also continues to decline, down to 3.8%. That number was 4.8% last week and 6.6% the week before. It had been in the 20% range from late July to mid-August. The positivity rates and new cases dropping together indicate that Florida’s prevalence continues to decline. Good news!

This report shows that new cases decreased in the last week among all age ranges, including among school-age children eligible for vaccines. Vaccines continue to rise among the 12-19-year-old age cohort (now 55%) and across all age ranges, but have slowed significantly from their pace during the peak of the wave.

The greatest number of cases occurs once again in the age ranges between 20 and 39 years. More than 84% of Floridians over the age of 60 are vaccinated, plus 77% of those between the ages of 50 and 59. The lowest vaccination rate is found among residents aged 20-29 with 54%.

Here’s a look at the Florida daily case trend via the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID data tracker. According to the CDC, Florida’s 1,513 new cases on Saturday is the lowest daily count since June 27, which was when cases bottomed out in late spring and summer, long before the most recent spike.

The 7-day statewide average of new cases is 2,519 as of October 17, 2021. That’s less than the more than 10,000 from exactly a month ago. This is Florida’s lowest 7-day average since July 2, which is (again) before the most recent wave started. At its current rate, Florida’s moving average will return to its June lows next week.

Above is a chart of Florida daily case data from the CDC to put this steep decline into context.

After peaking at the end of August, the daily figures and the moving average have been falling through September and October. Again, since the positivity rate is decreasing with the numbers of cases in motion, this is not the result of a decrease in testing. It also tracks the visible path of each wave passed.

For more information, the Florida Hospital Association continues to report a decrease in new hospitalizations. The total number of hospitalizations until yesterday is 2,634.

This number is down 20.4% week-over-week, to less than half the level of just a few weeks ago. As of early September, that number was above 15,000. At the current rate, hospitalizations will retreat to early July levels in the next two weeks.

According to figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, coronavirus patients account for 5.25% of Florida’s inpatient beds (up from 20% in August) and 12.9% of ICU beds (up from 35% in August). Both numbers are also significantly lower than the national average.

Despite this sharp drop in coronavirus patients, 75.77% of hospital beds in Florida are still in use (up from 85% in August). This is likely a combination of the resumption of standard procedures and the reality that hospitals typically operate at relatively high capacity even under normal circumstances (although that number has declined in recent decades based on CDC data).

Deaths remain high, but have also passed the peak. As a reminder, deaths are counted on the date they occurred rather than the date they were reported. Also, it typically takes 2-3 weeks for those deaths to show up in daily or weekly reports. This means that not only are deaths delayed in cases, but they are completed in the reporting data. So it’s hard to say for sure when deaths have peaked until about a month after the fact.

That said, looking back at 3 weeks shows a moving average of 201 deaths per day, which is down from ~ 250 just a couple of weeks earlier. That appear that deaths peaked in late August / early September at around 375 per day, as deaths in mid-September dropped sharply, even dates that are 3 or 4 weeks ago after the count should be close to completion.

On an optimistic note, Florida is now ranked 49th among the US states for average daily COVID cases per 100,000 people per data compiled by the New York Times. Florida continues to improve its position each week, after being in the top 10 last month and ranking No. 1 (worst) for much of August, when it accounted for nearly 25% of all cases in the nation at one point. dice.

The only state with a higher number of cases per capita is Hawaii, which means that Florida is now number 1 (best) of the contiguous states. There are still specific counties that are doing better, including rural southern areas and the California Bay area, but Florida as a whole is now doing incredibly well after the big increase. Hopefully the significant number of natural infections coupled with vaccines will form a wall of immunity resulting in a less significant, or no, vacation spike in Florida.

There was no Orange County government public health briefing today with Mayor Jerry Demings and Dr. Raul Pino of the Florida Department of Health, which I honestly think is fine. These were incredibly helpful last year, this spring, and again from late July through August to learn the trajectory of the pandemic when things went wrong or there was uncertainty.

They are less useful now when the numbers are clear and largely speak for themselves. That said, Orange County tweeted that the 14-day continuous positivity rate is 4.56%. This is the seventh day in a row with a 14-day moving average of 5% or less.

That’s significant, as this was Orange County’s goal to loosen restrictions in the spring, and Mayor Demings repeatedly stated that it was the goal for this fall. It is not clear what this means in practice, if at all. Regardless, it’s other good news.

With that, let’s move on to CDC’s Community Transmission Map, which is based on positivity and incidence numbers. (I don’t know why it’s so small; it couldn’t make it bigger without losing states.) As you can see, most of the United States is still at the red level, with the notable exception of the South which saw an increase in cases towards the end of the summer.

Those counties that report 100 or more cases per 100,000 residents, or that have a positivity rate of at least 10%, fall into the high transmission level. If a county has reported 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 residents during a seven-day period or has a positivity rate of 8-10%, it falls into the substantial transmission level. Since the end of July, Orange County has been at the high broadcast level.

The good news is that Orange County just moved to the substantial (or orange) level, with a case rate of 94.37 per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 4.62%. That positivity rate actually qualifies Orange County for the low level, which is below target to eliminate interior masking. It is the rate of cases that needs to fall the most, and it has already been falling by about 20-30% each week (it has dropped “only” 18.63% in the last 7 days).

The CDC recommends the use of indoor masking for those who are fully vaccinated at only those two levels. The criteria for going down to the moderate level is less than 50 total new cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days. and less than 8% positivity in the test during the last 7 days. The low level requires 0 to 10 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of less than 5%.

Walt Disney World and Disneyland reinstated their indoor mask rules with that CDC guidance, so Disney likely won’t lift the rule until Orange counties qualify for the moderate level. Previously, Disney changed the rules of Walt Disney World and Disneyland simultaneously. Anything is possible, but we would expect the same scenario once again, especially with both coasts quite comparable at the moment.

If current trends hold, Disneyland would qualify to lift the rule first, as California’s Orange County already has a low positivity rate and is only waiting for its case rate to hit the moderate level. The current Orange County, CA case rate is 50.19 per 100,000, so the California OC will likely qualify within days.

At the current rate of decline, Florida’s Orange County will be at 50 cases per 100,000 or less in just a few weeks, but the dizzying rate of decline may slow. That would put Orange County in the yellow or moderate level just before Thanksgiving; In such a scenario, Walt Disney World could wait to lift the current mask rules until after the holiday season, hoping to see a sustained recession across the United States or if there is another holiday spike.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Learn more about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page. To find out where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our post Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets. Our post What to Pack for Disney Trips offers a unique look at smart take-out items. To find out what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Tour Guides will help you. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!


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