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COVID-19 positivity rate decreased in Florida, but doctors say it isn't enough to end the pandemic

Positivity rate fell from 15.3% to 13.5% over past week
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Posted at 5:44 AM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 06:17:14-04

TAMPA, Fla.  — Health officials say we're seeing the positivity rate decrease here in Florida, but it's not enough to put us in the clear and it's concerning many in the medical community.

ABC Action News reporter Anthony Hill dug deeper into the latest numbers on local vaccination and hospitalization rates. Plus, what the medical community said we all need to do in order to get on the other side of this pandemic sooner rather than later.

Health officials said over the past week, 100,012 people in the state contracted COVID-19. That’s an average of 14,300 cases a day.

“As of late, our seven-day average number of daily cases has continued to decrease, but remains somewhat high,” said Dr. Jason Salemi with USF Health.

State health officials report that the positivity rate fell over the past week from 15.3% to 13.5%.

“It’s not really something to really celebrate, going down that much. I mean, when you get down to 5%, then that’s something to celebrate,” said Dr. Michael Teng with USF Health.

The World Health Organization suggests a positivity rate of 5% or less for two weeks in order for us to really be in the clear and fully open as a state.

Dr. Salemi said, so far, about 58% of adults ages 18 to 64 are fully vaccinated in the state, but there are still 5.3 million Floridians who have not gotten the shot. Another concern is for children. About 40% of children ages 12 to 17 in the state are vaccinated, while 858,505 aren’t. This, as the race continues to get vaccines cleared for children under the age of 12.

Medical professionals say, we can definitely get on the other side of this pandemic, but there are certain things we must do as a community in order to stop the spread, such as:

  • Wearing a mask when indoors in public spaces
  • Keeping some distance between you and other people
  • Sanitizing your hands often
  • Getting vaccinated

“Vaccinations are obviously the best thing people can do to protect themselves, but even if you start vaccinating now, it’s going to take you six to eight weeks to become fully immune to the virus," Dr. Teng said.

Last week, 2,443 people in the state died from COVID-19.

“The more vaccinated a state is, the lower their hospitalization rates will be,” said Dr. Salemi.