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Thursday, June 13, 2024
COVID 19  |  UF

COVID-19 Update: Local cases, Shands hospitalizations fall while statewide weekly cases rise for first time since August

The rise in UF quarantine numbers ended this week with a 29% decrease

The number of UF affiliates quarantined fell to 95 Monday — 39 less than Nov. 15.

UF’s number of reported cases also fell, with  23 cases from Nov. 14 to Sunday — down from 29 the previous week. The seven-day average fell below four Nov. 16 for the first time this month.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alachua County also fell this week.

There were a total of 144 new cases in Alachua County this week — 33 less than the prior week. New cases fell by about 90% since Aug. 27. 

UF Health Shands hospitalizations also decreased. The number of hospitalized patients in Alachua County fell to 17 as of Nov. 22 — a decrease of about 29% since Nov. 15, when hospitalizations had risen by about 41% during the previous week.

Of the eight COVID-19 patients at Shands on Wednesday, 2 were in the ICU, UF Health Shands Communications Coordinator Matt Walker wrote in an email. On Tuesday, 88% of patients were unvaccinated.

No children were hospitalized as of Wednesday, the same as last week.

Alachua County Public Schools reported 52 students were quarantined as of Friday, up from 51 students Nov. 12.

As of Friday, 17 students and three adults tested positive for COVID-19 over the last two weeks, according to the Alachua County School District.

After 11 weeks of falling infection numbers, Florida reported increased COVID-19 cases last week for the first time since Aug. 20. From Nov. 12 to 18, 10,828 new cases were verified, compared to 10,732 the prior week, according to Florida Department of Health data. Florida is now averaging about 1,500 new cases per day.

On Monday, Florida reported 1,656 COVID-19 cases and 66 deaths, according to Miami Herald calculations of CDC data. In the past week, on average, the state has added 43 deaths and 1,389 cases per day.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed measures blocking the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for larger companies Thursday. Republican state lawmakers have said the laws protect people’s rights to choose their health care options. But the new laws could pose challenges to business owners. 

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Companies with either 100 or more workers could face harsh federal penalties if they don’t follow federal orders that require employees to be vaccinated or get tested regularly. Meanwhile, those same businesses will now be subject to penalties by Florida officials for violating the new state laws that prohibit vaccine or test mandates by companies unless they offer specific exemptions, some of which aren’t permitted in the federal rules.

UF Health is subject to the federal vaccine mandate.

“As a health care system, we are continuing to follow the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate to ensure continued compliance,” Walker wrote. “This includes having a process in place for employees to avail themselves of medical or religious exemptions.”

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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