ORLANDO, Fla. – Federal health officials are warning areas in the U.S. where COVID-19 cases are rising to consider indoor masking once again.
Health officials said about a third of the U.S., mainly in the Northeast and Midwest, are being considered at higher risk, according to the Associated Press, and those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors — but Americans elsewhere should also take notice.
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Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “we urge local leaders to encourage use of prevention strategies like masks in public indoor settings and increasing access to testing and treatment.”
In response to the growing number of cases, the White House announced U.S. households can request another eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service. The third round brings to 16 the total number of free tests available to each U.S. household since the program started earlier this year. Households were eligible to receive four tests during each of two earlier rounds of ordering through the website.
This week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized COVID-19 booster shots for children 5-11. The FDA’s authorization opens a third shot of Pfizer’s vaccine to elementary-age kids, too — at least five months after their last dose. Advisers to the CDC met afterward and adopted the panel’s recommendation to open a third shot to the age group.
“Vaccination with a primary series among this age group has lagged behind other age groups leaving them vulnerable to serious illness,” Walensky said in a statement.
Despite the growing number of cases, health officials are noting fewer deaths compared to early on in the pandemic. However, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has hit 1 million. The death toll less than 2 1/2 years into the outbreak is based on death certificate data compiled by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the CDC and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services on May 20:
The CDC reported 8,501 new cases on Friday, based on daily reporting it gets from the Florida Department of Health.
There were 60,204 new coronavirus cases over the last two weeks.
Florida has seen 6,058,248 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.
The Florida Department of Health reported a cumulative death toll in Florida of 74,330. There were 270 fatalities recorded over the past two weeks, which we get by subtracting the number of deaths reported by DOH two weeks ago (74,060) from the current cumulative death toll.
The state stopped reporting the number of non-residents who died in Florida when the new weekly reporting method began.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration deleted its current COVID-19 hospitalization database and the state is no longer reporting how many patients have been hospitalized with the virus. However, Florida is still required to report that information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC continues to release that information online. The most recent hospital numbers show 1,644 adult and 36 pediatric patients in Florida.
The Florida Department of Health reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 13.4% for the weeks of May 13-May19 but did not provide how many people were tested during the past two weeks. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.
Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases and new vaccination numbers between May 13- May 19.
|County||Total cases as of May 19||New cases since May 13||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 5+ population vaccinated|
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