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COVID live blog: Week of Nov. 22

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Mayra Heitman
/
WUWF

Monday, Nov. 22
Weekly COVID Update
More than 61,000 Florida residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started in early 2020, according to a report released Friday by the state Department of Health.

As of Thursday, 61,081 deaths had been reported, up from 60,697 a week earlier, though lags in reporting make it difficult to determine when the deaths occurred. The Department of Health numbers also showed that 3,677,968 COVID-19 cases had been reported since the pandemic started.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services posted data Friday that showed 1,383 Florida hospital inpatients had COVID-19, including 264 in intensive-care units. Florida saw a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations during the summer because of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. But those numbers have dramatically decreased in September, October and the first part of November.

Friday, Nov. 19
COVID Testing in Escambia County
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) is continuing specimen collection for COVID-19 offered to all persons. Rapid testing is available Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the FDOH- Escambia Fairfield office located at 1295 West Fairfield Drive.

All persons (ages 2 and up) who are experiencing symptoms or those who have been exposed to someone with known COVID-19 can get tested.

Appointments are needed. Call 850-595-6500 option 6 to schedule an appointment. Bring a valid form of identification. Rapid testing with results available within 30 minutes. Questions can be directed to FDOH-Escambia’s COVID-19 phone line at 850-595-6500 option 6.

Wednesday, Nov. 17
Pediatric COVID Vaccine Clinics in Okaloosa
The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County (DOH-Okaloosa) is providing Pfizer vaccines to include children ages 5-11. Appointments are recommended but not required. Appointments can be made by calling 850-344-0566.

DOH-Okaloosa continues to provide first, second and third/booster doses to eligible groups.

DOH-Okaloosa provides COVID-19 vaccines Monday-Friday in Ft. Walton Beach and Tuesday only in Crestview. Moderna booster doses are only provided by appointment on Tuesdays at both locations.

Fort Walton Beach-221 Hospital Drive NE 

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
  • Tuesday 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
  • Friday 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

Crestview- 810 E. James Lee Blvd.  

  • Tuesday 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Vaccines are also available at pediatric health care provider offices, pharmacies and other participating locations. For a list of locations providing COVID-19 vaccines visit www.FloridaHealthCovid19.gov.

For more information please visit HealthyOkaloosa.com or call 850-344-0566.

Monday, Nov. 15
Weekly COVID Update
Florida reported 10,746 coronavirus cases from Nov. 5-11, an average of about 1,500 infections per day. It's the lowest weekly infection rate since early June. The total number of coronavirus cases in the state is 3,668,077 since the first Florida cases were reported last year. Florida’s positivity rate fell to 2.5% in the past week, down from 2.6% the prior week

The state added 363 deaths since the previous report. The overall tally is 60,697.

Florida administered 165,266 vaccination doses in the past week. Nearly 6.9 million Floridians age 5 and up remain unvaccinated. This was the first full week that children age 5 to 11 were eligible for Pfizer's pediatric-sized dose. Less than 45,000 children received their first shots. Thirty-six of Florida's total population is unvaccinated, including children 4 years and younger who are not eligible for the vaccine.

Florida adminstered 233,683 booster shots, up 13% from last week according to the report.

Tuesday, Nov. 9
FDOH COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) is continuing to offer their COVID-19 vaccine clinic located at 1295 West Fairfield Drive in Pensacola. In keeping with CDC guidance, COVID-19 pediatric vaccines are recommended for children 5 to 11 years.

Beginning Monday, November 15, 2021, FDOH-Escambia will offer the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to children 5 to 11 years. FDOH-Escambia continues to offer three authorized vaccines to eligible persons. Pfizer for ages 5 and up. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson for ages 18 and up.

Walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters, are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Questions can be directed to FDOH-Escambia’s COVID-19 phone line at 850-595-6500 option 6.

For information about FDOH-Escambia and COVID-19, visit escambiahealth.com.

Monday, Nov. 8
Weekly COVID Update
The Florida Department of Health added 11,069 cases to the state's totals for the seven days ending Thursday, according to its latest weekly report. According to the report, a total of 60,334 Floridians have died from COVID-19 related complications, an increase of 664 from the previous report. The state's positivity rate for new cases was 2.6%.

The report states 13,997,374 Florida residents have been vaccinated, a weekly increase of 56,500. In all, 73% of Florida’s population over the age of 12 has received at least one dose of vaccine.

Monday, Nov. 1
COVID Weekly Update
The Florida Department of Health reported 12,880 additional COVID cases to the state's totals for the seven days ending Thursday, according to its latest weekly report. According to the report, a total of 59,670 Floridians have died from COVID-19 related complications, an increase of 867 for the week. The state recorded that 56,340 more COVID-19 vaccinations were administered this past week.

Thursday, Oct. 28
Community Health Northwest Florida to Offer Sunday COVID-19 Booster Clinic
Community Health Northwest Florida, in partnership with Escambia County District 3, will hold a special weekend COVID-19 booster clinic on Sunday, November 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., inside the Brownsville Community Center. All CDC/FDA-approved vaccine brands, including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, will be available for individuals 18 and over who qualify to receive the COVID-19 booster vaccine. Additional information on Community Health Northwest Florida COVID-19 vaccination clinics is available through the Community Health COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 850-439-3358.

Wednesday, Oct. 27
COVID Boosters in Escambia County
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) is continuing to offer their COVID-19 vaccine clinic located at 1295 West Fairfield Drive in Pensacola. In keeping with CDC guidance, COVID-19 vaccine boosters are recommended for all three authorized vaccines. Walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters, are welcome Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Questions can be directed to FDOH-Escambia’s COVID-19 phone line at 850-595-6500 option 6.

Moderna: COVID-19 booster vaccines are recommended for individuals 18 years of age and older who have completed their initial COVID-19 vaccination series, at least 6 months have passed since the completion of their second dose and they meet one of the following criteria*:

  • 65 years or older
  • 18-64 years of age with an underlying medical condition(s)
  • 18-64 years of age with increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of the occupational or institutional setting
  • *Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals or organ transplant recipients may receive a booster 28 days since the completion of their second dose.

Pfizer: COVID-19 booster vaccines are recommended for individuals 18 years of age and older who have completed their initial COVID-19 vaccination series, at least 6 months have passed since the completion of their second dose and they meet one of the following criteria*:

  • 65 years or older
  • 18-64 year of age with underlying medical condition(s)
  • 18-64 years of age with increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting
  • *Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals or organ transplant recipients may receive a booster 28 days since the completion of their second dose.

Johnson and Johnson: COVID-19 booster vaccines are recommended for individuals who have received their initial COVID-19 vaccination and at least two months have passed since their initial dose.

COVID Boosters from Community Health Northwest Florida
This week Community Health Northwest Florida, in partnership with Escambia County, will begin offering COVID-19 booster shots of Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines Friday, October 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its vaccination clinic inside Brownsville Community Center. The booster shot clinics are open to individuals age 18 and older.

Monday, Oct. 25
Weekly COVID Update
The Florida Department of Health added 15,314 cases to the state's totals for the seven days ending Thursday, according to its latest weekly report. The state's positivity rate was 3.4%, down from 3.8% the previous week.

According to the report, 58,803 Floridians have died from COVID-19 related complications, an increase of 944 for the week. This is the first time that number has fallen below 1,000 since the week of Aug. 5.

Monday, Oct. 18

COVID Rental Assistance in Escambia County
Renters in Escambia County who require assistance with overdue rent and utility bills due to COVID-19 can apply for emergency rental assistance through the Escambia County Emergency Rental Assistance (ERAP) Program. The application portal opens Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, and is available in English and Spanish. Learn more at MyEscambia.com/erap.

Emergency rental assistance may be provided to eligible low-income Escambia County residents and families who:

  • Have been financially impacted by COVID-19;
  • Have total household income at or below 80% Area Median Income;
  • Are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • Have not received any other rental assistance for the requested months

Email ERAP@myescambia.zendesk.com or call 850-403-6044 with any questions. You can call 850-403-6044 to make an appointment for in-person assistance.

Weekly COVID Update
The Florida Department of Health added 19,519 cases to the state's totals for the last seven days, according to its latest weekly report. Also in the report, 57,859 Floridians have died from COVID-19 related complications, an increase of 1,192 for the week. The positivity rate for new cases was 3.8%, down from 4.8% the previous week. As for vaccinations, the state recorded 60,521 more COVID-19 shots administered, but vaccination rates in the state and region hovered at the same levels as the week before.
As of Oct. 14, 748,436 people in Florida have received an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of 105,114 from the week before.

Thursday, Oct. 14
Okaloosa Weekly COVID Update
The overall resident case count and positivity rate has continued to drop although the county transmission rate is still listed as high. Last week, there were 212 reported cases in the county. The county's percent positivity is 7.2%, down 2.5% from last week. There were 36 deaths reported according to CDC data. Hospitals in the county are at 82.9% capacity, of those patients 9.2% of beds are filled with COVID patients. Of the COVID patients, more than 82% are unvaccinated.

Tuesday, Oct. 12
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance from FEMA

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, citizens can apply for FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program.

Escambia County sent a press release Tuesday afternoon with details about the program. To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses on or after Jan. 20, 2020.
  • For deaths that occurred after May 16, 2020, the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • For deaths that occurred from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020, any death certificate that does not attribute the cause of death to COVID-19 must be accompanied by a signed statement listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.
    • The signed statement must be provided by the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred.
    • The statement must provide an additional explanation, or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to COVID-19.
    • If the death certificate was issued May 17, 2020 or later, the death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
    • FEMA encourages you to keep the official death certificate that shows the death that occurred in the United States, including the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.

    To apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, call the helpline at 844-684-6333. The helpline is available Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Eastern Time. Multilingual services will be available. Online applications are not accepted. If you use a relay service, such as your videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, please provide your specific number assigned to that service. It is important that FEMA is able to contact you, and you should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.
    Visit here for more information about FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program.

    Monday, Oct. 11
    Escambia County relaxing COVID restrictions
    The Escambia County School Board will be relaxing certain COVID restrictions currently in place. The change comes after reviewing COVID dates from schools, departments, and the community overall.

    Effective Tuesday, Oct. 12, on-campus visitors such as volunteers, mentors, and college recruiters will be allowed to access ECSD campuses. Field trips will also resume, on a limited basis, contingent upon District-level approval.

    Protocols issued by the state will remain in place, and large student gatherings during the school day on campus will remain limited.

    “Given the decline in COVID case numbers it is time to begin the return to normalcy,” stated ECSD Superintendent Dr. Timothy A. Smith in a press release. “After consulting with public health officials, we feel we are able to do this safely.” 

    Weekly COVID Update
    Florida has reported an additional 3,141 COVID-19 cases and three deaths according to weekly data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, Florida has recorded at least 3,604,846 COVID-19 cases and 56,413 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. In the past seven days, the state has added, on average, 200 deaths and 3,403 cases per day, according to CDC data.