For the first time since September, the levels of COVID among the Space Coast community rose to medium, with hospitalizations and cases increasing, according to national health data released Thursday.
Brevard is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as a community of medium COVID levels, a status most counties in Florida had received the previous week. This status is calculated through a combination of hospitalizations and case rates. Brevard was previously reported as a community of low COVID levels from September until now.
Between Jan. 5 and Jan. 11, there were 644 reported cases of COVID-19 on the Space Coast, with a positivity rate of 15.88% and 106.99 cases per 100,000 people. That’s a jump of 159 new cases compared to the previous week, when between Dec. 29 and Jan. 4, the CDC reported 485 cases of COVID-19 in the county, with a positivity rate of 13.68% and about 80.57 per 100,000 people.
It’s important to note that not all cases are accounted for, as at-home tests are not reported to the CDC or the Florida Department of Health, and not everyone with symptoms takes a test.
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Hospitalizations also increased, with the CDC reporting 77 admissions of confirmed COVID-19 between Jan. 4 and Jan. 10 in Brevard. The prior week, between Dec. 28 and Jan. 3, the CDC only reported 36 hospitalizations.
Despite the increase in cases and hospitalizations, the agency reported fewer than 10 deaths both weeks, though they did not provide a specific number.
On the Space Coast, 70% of the population ages 5 and older have completed their primary series of shots against COVID-19, according to CDC data. But that number drops to 12.2% when examining how many residents ages 5 and older have received their updated Bivalent booster. Though the shot was designed to target the original strain of COVID as well as the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, experts believe the booster may be somewhat effective against four additional strains of the virus, including BA.4.6, BA.2.75, BQ1.1, and XBB.1, according to Pfizer.
The XBB1.5 variant was the dominant strain in the U.S. as of Thursday, making up about 43% of all reported COVID cases, the CDC reported. BQ1.1 and BQ.1 made up 28.8% and 15.9% of cases respectively.
Across the United States, 73.1% of those ages 5 and up have completed their primary series of shots. Only 15.9% of the same age group have received the updated bivalent booster.
Since March 2020, Brevard has reported 2,260 deaths involving COVID. There have been 101,518,229 reported cases in the United States and 1,095,149 reported deaths.
Where to get vaccinated
Brevard residents can get vaccinated at three Florida Department of Health sites.
- Viera clinic, at 2555 Judge Fran Jamieson Way.
- Melbourne clinic, 601 E. University Blvd.
- Titusville clinic, 611 N. Singleton Ave.
Omni Healthcare’s offices also offer vaccines, as does its walk-in vaccination clinic located in Suite 303 on the third floor of 1344 S. Apollo Blvd. in Melbourne, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Residents can also get vaccinated from 9 a.m. to noon in Suite 2C of Omni’s 1344 S. Apollo Blvd. complex.
Local pharmacies — such as Walgreens, CVS and Publix — also offer vaccines. Check your pharmacy’s website to schedule a vaccination appointment.