The number of COVID-19 patients increased in Alachua County this week after six consecutive weeks of cases declining.
There are 302 new positive cases in Alachua County this week, up 38 from the previous week. Since Aug. 27, the county had seen weekly cases drop from 1,520 to 264 last week — a decrease of more than 80%.
Meanwhile, UF affiliate cases and Shands hospitalizations continue to fall. The number of hospitalized patients in Alachua County fell to 71 as of Oct. 19, a decrease of about 8% since Oct. 12. Hospitalizations had fallen by about 33% over the previous week.
Cases at UF also continue to fall at a steady rate for the sixth week in a row since the Sept. 3 spike in cases. The seven-day average is now below four cases a day.
On Tuesday, 155 UF affiliates were quarantined. The number decreased by about 11% over the past week.
Of the 22 COVID-19 patients at UF Health Shands Hospital Wednesday, 95% were unvaccinated and eight were in the ICU, UF Health spokesperson Ken Garcia wrote in an email. One child was in the ICU.
Alachua County Public Schools also experienced a decrease in quarantined students last week, with a fall of about 42% from Oct. 7 to 14. On Oct. 18, 38 students were quarantined.
In the last 14 days, 30 students and three adults tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Alachua County School District as of Oct. 19.
Last week’s national weekly case average decreased by about 12% from the previous week.
Florida ranked fifth in the nation for COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 on Oct. 19, averaging about 210 daily deaths. The state moved up in ranking by six places compared to last week.
The Food and Drug Administration committee unanimously recommended Johnson & Johnson booster shots Friday. If the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accept the recommendation, boosters could be distributed by later this week.
The FDA is also weighing whether those who received the Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine might benefit from the option of the Pfizer or Moderna booster.
If approved by federal regulators, Shands will offer Johnson & Johnson boosters to those eligible, Garcia wrote.
UF is offering COVID-19 testing at the UF Cultural Plaza Parking Garage and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. UF Health is offering walk-up vaccinations on the first floor of Shands, the first floor of Medical Plaza and the first floor of Springhill. Alachua County is offering walk-up vaccinations at various local pharmacies.
Contact J.P. Oprison at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JOprison.
JP is a fourth-year journalism major with a minor in history. He is currently the health reporter for The Alligator, focusing on how the pandemic is affecting Alachua County and the thousands of students in Gainesville. In his free time, JP likes to exercise at the gym and relax on the beach.