11K additional COVID-19 cases reported in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Department of Health added 11,423 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, ending a 4-day trend of daily reported cases in the state under 10,000.

An additional 380 hospitalizations were reported, bringing the total number since the pandemic began in Florida to 71,535. A total of 207 deaths were reported, bringing the total number to 26,035.

There were nine additional COVID-19 deaths reported in Northeast Florida, including one in Alachua County, one in Clay County, three in Duval County, two in Putnam County and two in St. Johns County.

FDOH shows 24,017 people in Florida got their first COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 1,567,152 people who have had at least one shot.

Florida’s next shipment of vaccines will get a boost after President Joe Biden announced Tuesday he would increase the supply of doses being sent to the states by about 16%. The state Health Department said it expects to get 307,000 first doses. In addition, the state expects 254,000 more booster shots to arrive to help complete the inoculation of the nearly 1.3 million Floridians who have already gotten their first shots as part of the two-step vaccination regimen.

But access to the vaccine has been a concern among advocates for the poor and communities of color statewide. Some say the Belle Glade issue should cause state officials to re-examine whether all Florida residents 65 and older have easy access to the vaccine.

“We need to make sure there are additional efforts put in place to ensure there is equitable distribution in low-income communities and communities of color so we don’t see disparities continue,’' said Miriam Harmatz, the executive director of the Florida Health Justice Project.

“This is an opportunity to proactively mitigate the disparities,’' Harmatz said.

The Associated Press contributed content to this story.