Florida reported nearly 32,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, breaking a record for the most cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic in the U.S. in March 2020, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 31,758 cases, attributed to Dec. 23 in the latest federal data release, surpasses the previous record of 27,669 from Aug. 26.
According to the Florida Department of Health, 125,201 cases were added to its weekly count, up from 29,568 the week prior. Of those cases, 1,806 were in Duval County (up from 614). The second highest number of cases were added in Alachua County (677), followed by St. Johns County (522) and Clay County (311).
The Department of Health has reported a total of 3,864,213 cases in Florida. A total of 62,342 deaths have been reported.
Notably, the FDOH reported 111,990 first doses of vaccine were administered last week. That’s the highest number reported by the health department since mid-September. A total of 8,710,670 people have been fully vaccinated in Florida.
The omicron variant -- more contagious than the delta variant, but early data suggests it’s less severe and more people are staying out of the hospital.
Health experts, including Dr. Mobeen Rathore -- an infectious disease specialist with Wolfson Children’s Hospital -- expects those cases to continue climbing in the coming weeks.
He offered a reminder that vaccines are effective at keeping most people from getting severely sick. He said the elderly and those with underlying conditions are still at risk.
“Those who are immunocompromised or have other comorbid conditions such as diabetes, overweight, heart disease, who may have HIV,” Rathore said.
The CDC reports that breakthrough infections for people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.
The Duval County Health Department put out four recommendations for Jacksonville residents, especially as people gather for the holidays:
- Vaccinate: Get vaccinated before gathering, attending events or traveling. Get a booster when eligible. Layer protection with a flu shot.
- Test: Get a COVID-19 test before joining gatherings with others who are not in your household and before and after traveling, regardless of your vaccine status.
- Mask: Wear a mask indoors in public, even if you are vaccinated.
- Prevent: Continue rigorous hand washing and consider avoiding large crowds.
Rathore also emphasized the importance of getting a booster, if you’re eligible. As of publication of this article, 61% of Floridians age 5 and up were fully vaccinated.