The COVID-19 numbers in Palm Beach County are coming down from the latest spike, Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County Director Dr. Alina Alonso told the Palm Beach County Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
“We have some good data for you here today,” Alonso said.
Like the county’s numbers, the national numbers are also coming down.
“Nationwide, the current seven-day average of daily new cases is 106,395, and it has decreased by 13.3 percent compared with the previous seven days,” she said.
Locally, the numbers are even more favorable in Palm Beach County. The numbers have dropped sharply to 2,416 new cases last week with a new case positivity rate of 6.5 percent.
Alonso added that 75.8 percent of people ages 12 and over have received at least one vaccination.
“We’re slowly moving up that percentage, which is also very important if we’re going to get this under control,” she said. “Our number of vaccinations have been increasing.”
She noted that children ages 12 and under are still not being vaccinated.
“But you can see that there is a decline after our peak here of vaccinating, and it’s very similar to what’s going on here in Palm Beach County,” Alonso said.
Nationally, more than 214.3 million people have received at least one vaccination, and about 184.6 million, or 55.6 percent of the population, have now been fully vaccinated.
She also distinguished between booster shots and a third dose, explaining that there is a lot of confusion over the difference.
“The booster shots have now been approved by the FDA for the Pfizer vaccine only,” Alonso said. “For those people who have completed their initial series at least six months prior can now get a booster. That is for people who are at least 18 years of age who live in long-term care settings or have underlying medical conditions, and also those who work in high-risk settings or live in high-risk settings.”
This would include people such as healthcare workers, firefighters, police officers, educational workers, manufacturing and food workers, and congregate care staff, as well as corrections workers, postal workers, grocery store workers and public transit workers.
“All these people are in contact with the public,” Alonso said. “Those individuals are now allowed to get a booster shot.”
That shot must happen at least six months after receiving the initial two shots.
The third dose, however, is for those who are severely or moderately immunocompromised, especially for those who may not build the same level of immunity from the two-dose vaccine.
“Those people should receive a third dose,” she said. “It’s very important that if you go ask for the third dose of Moderna or Pfizer that you make that statement, that you want a third dose, because if you ask for a booster, you’re not going to get it.”
The third dose is available 28 days after the initial vaccinations.
She said that most of the United States, including Palm Beach County, remains under conditions of high transmissibility.
“We cannot be complacent, and we can’t let our guard down,” Alonso said. “The CDC is still recommending the use of masks, even if you’re vaccinated, because we are still in high community transmission.”
She said most of the high community transmission is due to the Delta variant.
“The Delta has basically taken over all the variants,” Alonso said. “The predominant variant is the Delta in all our states, as well as here in Florida.”
Cases per week in Palm Beach County are going down.
“We hope that we can sustain that until at least the winter months,” Alonso said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Learn more about Palm Beach County’s COVID-19 response at www.pbcgov.com/coronavirus.