Florida’s Covid Hospitalizations Spike After Spring Break

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One week after the end of college spring break, Southwest Florida’s hospitals are reporting big increases in covid patient numbers, as the state’s overall daily case numbers hit a total not seen since mid-February.

COVID-Related Hospitalizations Rise Again In Southwest Florida Following Spring Break

The number of COVID-19 patients at all three of Southwest Florida’s major hospital systems is rising more than a week after the end of Spring Break celebrations. The Lee County-based Lee Health, the region’s largest hospital operator, counted 93 COVID-positive patients on Thursday and 100 cases Wednesday. Two weeks ago, the total number was 55. Lee Health cases peaked in July when it counted more than 300 such patients on any given day. (Gluck, 4/8)

WUSF 89.7:
Florida Reports Nearly 8,000 New Coronavirus Cases, Most Since February 

Florida reported 7,939 additional coronavirus cases on Thursday, the most in a day since Feb. 11. More than 141,000 coronavirus tests were returned Wednesday, a significantly higher amount than on previous days this week. The positivity rate for new cases was 6.73 percent, slightly lower than recent days. The state’s seven-day average of new cases continues to rise. (Colombini, 4/8)

Also —

The Washington Post:
U.S. Cases Involving Contagious Brazil Variant On The Rise, According To CDC Data 

As new U.S. coronavirus cases trend upward — with nearly 80,000 new infections reported on Thursday — health officials are warning about the spread of multiple, more transmissible variants, some of which have seeded outbreaks in states such as Michigan and California. On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data on emerging variants, including those first identified in Brazil, Britain and South Africa. The B.1.1.7 variant initially detected in Britain accounts for almost 20,000 cases in all 50 states — and has become the dominant strain, officials say. (Cunningham, 4/9)

The Washington Post:
Rise Of Coronavirus Variants Will Define The Next Phase Of The Pandemic In The U.S.

Variants of the coronavirus are increasingly defining the next phase of the pandemic in the United States, taking hold in ever-greater numbers and eliciting pleas for a change in strategy against the outbreak, according to government officials and experts tracking developments. The highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant that originated in the United Kingdom now accounts for 27 percent of all cases in this country. It is the most common variant in the United States, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday — a development that officials predicted months ago. Two other variants, which took root in South Africa and Brazil and also are more transmissible, are cropping up with increasing frequency in parts of the United States. (Bernstein, Cha, McCoy and Dupree, 4/8)

National Guard Urges U.S. To Follow Health Measures As Military Races To Vaccinate Population

National Guard leaders on Thursday called for people in the U.S. to keep adhering to Covid-19 mitigation measures as the military races to vaccinate the population. “We’re excited to follow the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] science that tells us what the smart thing is to continue to protect the civilians around us,” U.S. Air Force Col. Russell Kohl, commander of the 131st Medical Group for the Missouri National Guard, told CNBC when asked if there were concerns of more states relaxing guidance. (Macias, 4/8)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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