Florida recorded over 29,000 new COVID-19 cases for Monday, and the state's hospital association restarted its daily reporting of hospitalizations as infections of the omicron variant rise.
The 29,059 cases reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday pushed Florida's total to 3,965,229 cases since the pandemic began.
Cases in the state have risen sharply since the rise of the omicron variant during the holidays. Florida reported a record of nearly 33,000 new infections on Christmas Eve, and 29,000 cases combined for the past weekend.
Researchers have said that while the lines to get a COVID-19 test in South Florida are dramatic and show the desire for as much testing as possible, in the big picture, the number of cases is not as important as who goes to the hospital.
On Tuesday, 679 more people are in Florida hospitals with COVID-19 from Monday, bringing the total to more than 2,700 confirmed cases, according to the Florida Hospital Association. But that is still a bit away from the peak of 17,000 hospitalizations during the Delta wave.
The omicron variant spreads much faster from person to person but those infected appear to have milder symptoms, experts reported. If people are vaccinated, boosted, wearing masks and social distancing, they have less of a chance to end up in the hospital, said Mary Mayhew of the Florida Hospital Association.
But a concern hospitals are watching is how they respond once they are inside the hospital because one of the most common treatments might not be as effective against the omicron variant.
"One of the best tools that we had outside of the hospitals in the community setting and in the emergency department was the antibody therapy that dramatically reduced hospitalizations," said Mayhew, "Unfortunately it’s not clear as to whether or not the current treatment that has been available, the antibody therapy, they will work with this particular variant.”
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