Counties like Miami-Dade decided to change their policies to deal with the outbreak. Almost half of the population is fully vaccinated, and there are doses for everyone. Still, they estimate that eight million people have not yet been immunized.
The company has been reopened for months. Vaccines are available without restriction for those over 12 years of age. But the combination of newer COVID 19 variants, like Delta, which is presumed to be more contagious, and the fact that even more than half of the population in Florida has not been vaccinated - 47.8 percent received the immunization. Complete - has triggered a new spike of cases that some are calling the fourth wave.
According to the report of new infections delivered each week by the Florida Department of Health, the cases have multiplied by more than four in the last month. For example, the week ended on June 17, 10,095 cases were reported; last Friday, 45,449 new infected COVID 19 were counted.
The report is similar to the different hospitals in the state: the newly infected are usually not vaccinated and tend to be younger people, mostly in an age range between 12 and 49 years.
Florida is not alone. The increase in cases has been seen in all 50 states of the country, but the southern state has seen a more dramatic increase. According to data provided by the White House itself, one in five new cases in the country arise from Florida. Twenty percent of the new cases when the state represents 6.5 percent of the national population.
The increase is occurring in most of the states. For example, three weeks ago, only 11 of Florida's 67 counties had a COVID 19 positivity rate of more than 10 percent. Today, 53 of the 67 counties exceed 10 percent positivity.
As expected, the rise is also being seen in hospitalizations. For example, on June 19 in Florida, there were 1,764 hospitalized patients due to COVID 19. By July 17, the number rose to 4,100.
So far, 9.7 million Floridians have completed either the two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single dose from Johnson & Johnson. Another one and a half million Floridians received at least a first dose, but 8 million people have decided not to get vaccinated yet. At least one million are over 65 years of age.
In the public health system in Florida's main county, Jackson Health has reported a 111 percent increase in the number of patients admitted to the hospital for COVID 19 in the last month.
Baptist Health Hospital, meanwhile, has reported three times as many new patients in the past four weeks.
In response to the situation, Jackson Health decided to raise the alert level to be high, implying that the number of people per room is limited to 50 percent. The use of masks is once again mandatory for all people, inclusive of those that are vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, only one visitor will be allowed for each hospitalized patient, and virtual consultations will be reestablished for low-risk cases.