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Florida's COVID case count shows a decrease as deaths near 85,000

The state reported 21,949 new cases Jan. 13-19, down 6,300 from previous week and 8,000 from the week before that. The dip looks to be part of a national trend after a winter spike blamed on XBB.1.5.

The number of reported new COVID-19 cases started to subside last week, according to data released Friday by the Florida Department of Health.

The decrease was part of a nationwide dip after COVID hospitalizations rose after Christmas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida data showed that 21,949 new cases were reported from Jan. 13 to Thursday, down from 28,252 during the week that started Jan. 6 and from 31,675 during the week that started Dec. 30, the News Service of Florida reported.

If the trend continues, it could mark an end to a spike that began around Thanksgiving that scientists are blaming on the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant, which quickly becoming the dominant strain in parts of the U.S. during the winter.

Experts were concerned about a “tripledemic” of respiratory illnesses, amid a rise in COVID, RSV and flu. Over the past few weeks, RSV and flu rates receded, experts say.

And on Friday, the CDC said COVID infections were down from December and early January. If so, the tripledemic apparently peaked at the end of 2022. And numbers never neared the levels of previous COVID increases.

The seven-day national average of hospital patients testing positive for COVID declined to 39,000 as of Friday, after peaking at 47,000 around Jan. 10. COVID-19 patients are occupying 5 percent of hospital beds, compared with 21 percent at this point last year, according to CDC data reported by the Washington Post.

Weekly emergency room visits for all three viruses combined peaked in early December — with no post-holiday resurgence, according to the CDC. For senior citizens, COVID and flu emergency room visits peaked in late December.

However, experts warn that numbers could still increase for all three respiratory illnesses. The CDC says flu season typically has a second bump, and RSV has another season in spring, the Post reported.

Meantime, nearly 85,000 Florida residents have died with COVID since the pandemic started in 2020.

State data showed that a reported 84,927 residents had died as of Thursday, up from a reported 84,176 two weeks earlier. Because of lags in reporting, it is unclear when the additional deaths occurred.

The Florida Department of Health releases COVID-19 data every two weeks

Information from Health News Florida's Stephanie Colombini, the Washington Post, Reuters and NPR was used in this report.

Copyright 2023 Health News Florida

Health News Florida
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