JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than likely, there is someone you know right now who has tested positive for COVID-19, as Florida counts thousands of new cases every day.
For most of the past month, the state has averaged between 10,000 and 11,000 cases a day reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The trendline has relatively plateaued, compared to the time from mid-March to late May when it was more of an increasing trend.
In the graph below, the orange bars show the number of cases Florida reported to the CDC each day over the last 90 days, and the green line shows the seven-day average over time.
Of course, these numbers do not count people who only test positive with an at-home test — those aren’t recorded in official statistics.
According to health experts, most cases are mild, but deaths are still occurring.
On Tuesday, News4JAX went to all of the government-run COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in Jacksonville. There are only three, and at two of them, there weren’t any patients.
It was at the state-run site at the Joseph Lee Center on Perry Street, not far from Gateway Town Center, where News4JAX spoke with Myrtis Lang. She recently came down with COVID-19 and was there to get another booster so she does not have to go through this again.
Lang said she was surprised she recently tested positive.
“I had both of the shots and the booster, and from my son — even though I was masked — I got it from him,” she said.
She is far from alone. Popular radio host Melissa Ross of WJCT’s “First Coast Connect” let her listeners know she too has COVID-19.
“You know, I’m doing great. We have all had lots of colds in our life, and that’s honestly what this has been like,” Ross told News4JAX on Tuesday. “I know so many people who have come down with it, and these are people who have managed to avoid it like myself for over two years who have been careful, taking all the precautions. I think this latest variant is just extremely contagious.”
News4JAX spoke with Chad Neilson, UF Health Jacksonville director of infection prevention, on Tuesday.
“Over the past several weeks, Florida has seen an uptick of COVID-19, although I do think we’re starting to plateau across the state. Most of these cases are being driven by one of the omicron variants,” Neilsen said.
As of Tuesday, UF Health Jacksonville’s two hospitals had 35 COVID-19 cases with three COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit, and Baptist Health’s five facilities across the area had 76 cases with seven patients in the ICU. Both hospitals report these numbers haven’t changed much this month.
For most patients, it has not been severe, but people are still dying from COVID-19.
“We are seeing an increase in COVID deaths, primary infection COVID deaths. That means they are dying of actual COVID — not of other causes. We are seeing an increase in those throughout the state of Florida over the last several weeks. So, as we see cases start to plateau and new cases start to decrease, we will still have a small bump potentially in those deaths for several weeks after,” Neilsen said.
The last state-run testing site left in Jacksonville — the one at the Joseph Lee Center located at 5120 Perry St. — will be open through Thursday and then it will close for good.
News4JAX was told that the two city-run sites will remain open through the summer. Those are the ones at the Clanzel T. Brown Community Center at 575 Moncrief Road and the Lane Wiley Senior Center at 6710 Wiley Road. The two sites, which are operated by Agape Family Health and also offer COVID-19 vaccinations, are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
And the Telescope Health operates a drive-through COVID-10 testing site at 450 Atlantic Blvd. in Neptune Beach — next to the former Kmart. That site is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.