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Palm Beach County remains in 'high' COVID-19 community category

Broward, Miami-Dade counties also listed as top level with rests of South Florida "medium."
Posted at 8:08 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 20:19:45-04

WEST PALM BEACH — Three South Florida Counties — Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade — remain in the highest of three COVID-19 community levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its weekly update posted Thursday.

Also staying at "medium" are Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee with Indian River moving from "low" to the middle category.

The levels have different commendations to halt the spread out coronavirus, including mask wearing indoors recommended for the most severe level and additional measures for high-risk people.

For medium and low, you are encouraged to "wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19." At the medium level, "if you are at high risk for severe illness, consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precaution."

Originally, the three South Florida counties were listed as "medium. But the CDC last Thursday released a footnote to the data, which said that a "data processing error" had Florida's per capita case rate blank in every county. The two other factors to calculate the level are hospitalizations and testing positivity.

"Of note, Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach counties should have appeared in the high CCL category, and Osceola County should have appeared in the medium CCL category," the CDC footnote reads.

The Tampa Bay Times reported Monday that the same error also impacted Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, which reached the CDC’s threshold for “high” risk but were still at “medium” status. Those three counties remain "high" with Sarasota, Polk and Alachua also moving up.

The first criteria is cases per 100,000 people in the past week with 200 or more considered high. Palm Beach County is 310.3, St. Lucie 178.5, Martin 196.27, Indian River 220.73, Okeechobee 66.3, Broward 401.85, Miami-Dade 588.01.

Another ctieria is hospital admissions per 100,000, which is high if 20 or more. Palm Beach, St. Lucie,, Martin, Okeechobee are 12.1, Indian River 9.1; Browand and Miami-Dade 15.7.

And the percent of staffed inpatient beds with covid for a weekly average is 15% or more. alm Beach, St. Lucie,, Martin, Okeechobee are 3.1%, Indian River 3.9%, Broward and Miami=Dade 3.5%.

The CDC determine an overall high level by counting the higher of the two hospitalization rates.

The high categories in three counties reflect surging cases, positivty rates and hospitalizations.

Cases statewide are at the highest level since mid-February (60,204 past week), the positivity rate of 13.4% is greatest since early February, hospitalizations (2,3521_ are the most since mid-March and deaths' increase (270 for 14 days) is up from 230 two weeks ago. Hospitalization data is from Thursday with other information from last week's state report.

In the state report Friday, cases' latest figure is more than 20,000 above 39,374 one week ago with 32,956 two weeks ago and 8,040 eight weeks ago, which is the lowest since the weekly reports began. The last time the weekly figure was this high: 102,953 the week ending Feb. 11. The record is 400,000.

The current seven-day rolling daily average is 9,178, the most since 10,043 Feb. 13 The figure 1,127 on March 22 is the lowest since 1,106 June 8, 2020. The record: 65,277 Jan. 11 (456,946 in a week).

On Thursday, 11,439 cases were posted, one day after 12,087, which is most since May 10 13,395. One week ago it was 10,266 . The daily record: 76,609 Jan. 8.

The CDC lists overall positivity rates, with the target 5.0% or less, as Palm Beach 19.97%, St. Lucie 16.32%, Martin 14.9%, Indian River 15.66, Okeechobee 3.28%, Broward 20.64%, Miami-Dade 19.1%.

Hospitalizations are the most since 2,418 (4.17) March 4. One week ago it was 1,906 (3.32%) and April 11 it was 892 (1.58%), least since record-keeping began July 2020, according to Department of Health and Human Services. The record was 17,295 (2.35%) on Aug. 29 during the delta variant surge.

Nonresidents' deaths are 74,435, which is a one-week increase of 140 compared with 137 a week ago, according to CDC data from Florida.

The state report doesn't list county deaths' data but the CDC issues weekly reports with 11 each in Palm Beach County and Broward with 21 in Miami-Dade and less than 10 in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee.''

In March, the CDC started designating "community levels." Since the pandemic, the CDC had "community transmission," which is based on cases and tests, and is broken into "low," "moderate," "substantial" and "high." Virtually the entire state, including all of South Florida is listed as "high."