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Saturday, May 25, 2024
COVID 19  |  UF

COVID-19 Update: County cases begin falling again as promising data on vaccines for children emerge

Cases at UF and Shands hospitalizations also continued declining

Last week’s rise in COVID-19 patients in Alachua County was short-lived, as the number decreased this week.

Through six consecutive weeks, the county saw weekly cases drop steadily from 1,520 on Aug. 27 to 264 on Oct. 8 — a decrease of more than 80%. This week, there are 195 new positive cases in Alachua County, down 107 from the previous week. 

UF affiliate cases and Shands hospitalizations also continue to fall. The number of hospitalized patients in Alachua County fell to 48 as of Oct. 26, a decrease of about a third since Oct. 19. Hospitalizations had fallen by about 8% over the previous week.

Cases at UF dropped at a steady rate for the seventh week in a row since the Sept. 3 spike in cases. The seven-day average of cases reported within the university is now below three cases a day. 

On Tuesday, 128 UF affiliates were quarantined, 27 fewer than the previous week.

Of the 24 COVID-19 patients at UF Health Shands Hospital Wednesday, 96% were unvaccinated and 14 were in the ICU, UF Health spokesperson Ken Garcia wrote in an email. 

No children were hospitalized as of Wednesday, as the number of pediatric patients continues its free-fall since its height of 16 on Aug. 26.

Following the statewide decline in cases, Alachua County Public Schools experienced a 4% decrease in quarantined students last week, with 61 students quarantined Oct. 26.

In the last 14 days, 32 students, but no adults, tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Alachua County School District as of Oct. 26.

Last week’s national weekly case average decreased by about 15% from the previous week.

Florida ranked fifteenth in the nation for COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 on Oct. 26, averaging 113 daily deaths. The state moved down in ranking by ten places compared to last week.

Moderna’s interim data shows its COVID-19 vaccine leads to a strong immune response in children ages 6 to 11, the company announced Monday. According to data, the vaccine produced antibodies in children that were up to 1.5 times as high as what has been observed in adults, Moderna said. 

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Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was recommended for children ages 5 to 11 by Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisers Tuesday. The pediatric vaccine is a third of the adult dose for children under 12 to minimize side effects. When the vaccines are federally approved, UF Health will make the vaccine available to that age group, 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 Follow him on Twitter @JOprison.

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J.P. Oprison

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.

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