Okaloosa County's COVID cases up 74.2% in one week; Walton cases surge 171.4%

Mike Stucka
USA TODAY NETWORK

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Okaloosa and Walton counties saw reported COVID-19 cases jump dramatically in the past week.

Okaloosa reported 216 cases in the latest week that ended Sunday, for a 74.2% jump from the previous week, when 124 cases were reported. Okaloosa has reported 35,535 cases throughout the pandemic.

Walton reported 76 cases in the latest week. That was a 171.4% increase from a week earlier, when 28 cases were reported. Throughout the pandemic, Walton has reported 13,107 cases.

New coronavirus cases also leaped in Florida last week, rising 332.9% as 124,865 cases were reported. The previous week had 28,841 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

A nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccination to a child. Week-over-week, new COVID cases have risen 74.2% in Okaloosa County, from 124 to 216, and 171.4% in Walton County, from 28 to 76.

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Florida ranked ninth among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

In the latest week, coronavirus cases in the United States increased 47% from the week before, with 1,388,833 cases reported. With 6.45% of the country's population, Florida had 8.99% of the country's cases in the last week. Across the country, 26 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Christmas significantly disrupted who got tested, how many people got tested, what labs operated and what government agencies reported on time. Some cases and deaths that would have been reported last week might be reported in the coming week, which itself will have testing and reporting disrupted by New Year's.

Consequently, week-to-week comparisons will be skewed and these numbers will be unreliable even as they're accurate to what states reported.

Florida does not directly publish county-level death data.

You may be interested in:Health care vaccine mandate: Florida again asks appellate court to halt mandatory shots

In Florida, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Miami-Dade County with 1,930 cases per 100,000 per week; Broward County with 1,205; and Palm Beach County with 789. The Centers for Disease Control says high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per 100,000 per week.

Adding the most new cases overall were Miami-Dade County with 52,435; Broward County with 23,532; and Palm Beach County with 11,812. Weekly case counts rose in 63 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

Florida ranked 19th among states in the share of people receiving at least one shot, with 74% of its residents at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 72.7%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the most used in the United States, require two doses administered a few weeks apart.

In the week ending last Thursday, Florida reported administering another 605,070 vaccine doses, including 137,227 first doses. In the previous week, the state-administered 827,240 vaccine doses, including 170,549 first doses. In all, Florida reported that it has administered 33,172,989 total doses. 

Across Florida, cases fell in four counties, with the greatest declines in Liberty County, with 4 cases from 10 a week earlier; in Franklin County, with 3 cases from 8; and in Gilchrist County, with 8 cases from 11.

In Florida, 127 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 194 people were reported dead.

A total of 3,907,748 people in Florida have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 62,347 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows.

In the United States, 52,280,854 people have tested positive and 816,609 people have died.

>> Track coronavirus cases across the United States

Florida's COVID-19 hospital admissions rising

USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, Dec. 26.

Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:

  • Last week: 4,979
  • The week before that: 3,039
  • Four weeks ago: 2,177

Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:

  • Last week: 99,084
  • The week before that: 90,677
  • Four weeks ago: 76,315

Hospitals in 18 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 28 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 29 states admitted more COVID-19 patients in the latest week than a week prior, the USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.