Florida has seen deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 variants among residents of all ages, and across almost every county in the state, according to newly released data from the state health department.
The Florida Phoenix had asked the state to provide more details about the COVID mutations that have spread across Florida and the nation. The Phoenix requested the information through multiple public records requests.
The Florida Department of Health on Monday sent an email to the Phoenix showing 31 deaths of Florida residents from COVID-19 variants between April 5 to April 15. Those resident deaths were in Broward, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Leon, Polk, Hillsborough, Pasco and Monroe, which was a nonresident death.
The variant deaths were from ages 27 to 102, but those were outliers. Many were in their 80s and 60s. The gender of the variant deaths was about half and half.
Data also show a total of 5,177 cases of five types of variants spreading in the state, and 122 people have been hospitalized from the variants.
The highest number of variant cases in Florida are from young residents between ages 25-34, with 983 cases. Other age categories include 890 infections from residents in the age group of 35-44, followed by 842 among residents aged 15-24.
And the Florida Department of Health had just released those details Monday, following the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcing last week that the agency will no longer update what had been called the COVID-19 variant map, which showed the number of variant cases.
Florida has been the state with the highest number of variant cases.
The cases revealed in the new data provided to the Phoenix on Monday show, for example, a 96-year-old female resident in Pasco County was hospitalized and died after contracting the P.1 strain that first emerged in Brazil. But a younger woman, who was 42-years-old died from an infection in Pinellas County, state data show. The strain was from the United Kingdom variant called B.1.1.7.
Florida has seen a spike in cases of that strain, with 4,523 cases of the United Kingdom variant. Other variants that have been detected in Florida include the South Africa strain, and two variants that first appeared in California, B.1.427 and B.1.429.
Overall, females outnumber males in the state in terms of variant cases, with 2,789 and 2,388 respectively. And Broward County has been the epicenter of infections from variants, with 1,232 cases. Other counties with the most infections include Miami-Dade, 774; Hillsborough County, 461; Palm Beach County, 425 and Pinellas County, 306.
Florida has 262 cases of the B.1.429 and 201 cases of the B.1.427. And the state detected 155 cases of the Brazil strain, known as P.1., and 36 cases of the South Africa variant, known as B.1.351.
Meanwhile, federal health officials warned that variant cases pose a greater risk of severe illness, an increase in deaths and hospitalizations and a potential reduction of vaccine effectiveness.
While Florida has seen the spread of variant cases, Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused to issue a statewide face mask mandate and has focused predominantly on vaccines.