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Florida reports 9K COVID-19 deaths related to long-term care

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Florida went through another troubling phase this week when it surpassed 9,000 coronavirus-related deaths in residents and staff of long-term care facilities – most of which included the elderly in nursing homes and life support facilities. .

The state added another 156 COVID-19-related deaths nationwide to data released Saturday by the Florida Department of Health. According to state data, more than 25,500 Florida residents and visitors to the state have died from the virus.

Overall, Florida has the fourth largest number of COVID-1

9 deaths in the country, after New York, California and Texas, according to a Johns Hopkins University website that tracks pandemic data.

Among the deaths reported Saturday in Florida were five in St. John’s County (151 in total), four in Putnam (96) and three in Bradford (35). Duvall County reports the most deaths among the 11 counties News4Jax tracks in Florida with 863.

Florida reported an additional 12,311 cases on Saturday, bringing a total of 1,639,914 from the state since the pandemic began last year.

The number of cases and deaths escalates in autumn and winter.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has consolidated his strategy for COVID-19 on vaccinations, focusing on people 65 and older who face specific health hazards from the virus. During its appearance on Friday on Fox News, DeSantis advertised the administration of at least the first doses of vaccines to nearly 1 million adults.

“We said adults first. This is something we need to focus on, the population aged 65 and over, ”said DeSantis. “There are young, healthy workers who get it in other states. God bless them, but I want to protect our vulnerable. “

But vaccine supplies remain limited, and older people continue to make up the majority of people dying from the virus.

Friday’s count of 20,797 deaths in Florida included people aged 65 and over. This represents 83% of total deaths – a percentage that remains relatively unchanged for months.

Long-term care deaths are also another indicator of the victims the pandemic continues to take on the elderly.

With an additional 85 long-term care deaths reported on Friday, the total number reached 9,097 – or about 36% of the state’s total mortality. As another indicator, more than 100 long-term care deaths have been reported in 26 of the state’s 67 counties since the pandemic began.

There have been at least 70,000 resident hospitalizations attributed to the new Florida coronavirus since the outbreak, and the Florida Health Administration on Saturday afternoon reported 6,707 hospitalizations currently with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 – out of 7,367 people at baseline. of the week.

At least 1,328,175 vaccines have been given in Florida, and 151,447 people in the state have received both shots, which are necessary, but some vaccination sites need to be closed because they have used up their distribution and there is still dissatisfaction with people who meet the conditions who have failed to make an appointment for a shot.

But officials are trying to increase coronavirus vaccinations, and the concern extends to a new, more contagious option that could strengthen its position in the country.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Florida had 46 confirmed cases of the more transmissible COVID-19 strain as of Sunday, overshadowing California with 40 confirmed cases in the latest census. The strain was first discovered in the United Kingdom in December and has begun to spread worldwide.

Early data show that the new strain is no more deadly than earlier strains, which infected nearly 24.2 million in the United States and killed more than 400,000. Florida is currently approaching 1.6 million confirmed cases, with nearly 10,000 new ones. cases and about 160 additional deaths reported on Tuesday. To date, the state has reported more than 24,400 deaths related to the virus.

“This new strain is more contagious, which means more people will be infected,” said Dr. Frederick Southwick, a professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at the University of Florida. “If we had a problem, we will have more problems now.”

Communities across the country are vying for an increase in infections as they expect more doses of two vaccines approved for use against the virus.

“The game plan is the same as before: Vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, try to really get the virus and reduce the total number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Glenn Morris. , director of the Institute for Emerging Pathogens at the University of Florida.

The Associated Press and news from Florida contributed to this report.

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