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Covid up around Florida, but still relatively low here

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of December 29, 2022)

Looks like we’re going to end 2022 in the green zone.

South Florida, North-Central Florida and two thirds of the I-4 Corridor are now yellow caution areas on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s covid virus map, and Miami-Dade County has shot past caution to bright orange.

But the number of new infections in and around Vero Beach remained steady over the past week, and hospitalizations decreased – leaving Indian River County still in the green zone for Low Covid Community Level, with fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 per week.

For the week ending Dec. 15, 12 people were hospitalized with complications from Covid illness, but only a handful of people were set to spend Christmas in a hospital bed battling Covid. “We have five Covid positive patients in-house today, none in critical care,” said Cleveland Clinic spokesperson Erin Miller just before Christmas Eve.

That’s a 58 percent decrease in hospitalizations from the previous week. Across the state, 309 people were hospitalized with Covid illness.

The Florida Department of Health reported 188 new deaths from complications of COVID-19 last week, up from 33 the week before. Sometimes there is a backlog in reporting Covid deaths so it’s possible a good number of the 188 people died the previous week, but if the trend continues that’s a major cause for concern.

On the vaccine front, tens of thousands of Floridians are lining up for their jab each week, but fewer than 2 million out of a population of 22 million people have opted to receive the newly formulated Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster shots designed to protect against infection by several Omicron subvariants circulating in the United States.