Image: Kari Perrin

Covid-19 cases are surging through the state of Florida on the tails of the Christmas holiday. Last week, Florida saw a 332.9 percent increase in Covid-19 case numbers, with more than 125,000 new cases reported from Dec. 17 to Dec. 23. By comparison, during the previous week, 29,519 cases were reported. The new numbers come as the highly contagious Omicron variant continues to spread both nationally and internationally.

Sarasota County reported 930 new cases in the last week, a 6.7 percent positivity increase from the week before, which only had 285 cases. Manatee County reported 824 new cases.

Both state and local numbers do not include the number of people who may have tested positive over the holiday weekend;  many testing sites in Florida closed on Christmas Day.

Statewide, the counties with the highest number of Covid cases and hospitalizations are Miami-Dade and Broward County. Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 have also increased in Florida, with 4,979 patients admitted last week and 3,039 admitted the week before that.

However, the state also said it administered another 605,070 vaccine doses last week, including 137,227 first doses. Health officials and physicians continue to emphasize that vaccination—including booster shots—is the best way to prevent severe infection, hospitalization and death.

For a list of where to find testing and vaccination sites in Sarasota-Manatee, click here.

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