Coronavirus

Is Omicron Over? COVID Cases Down 50 Percent in Miami-Dade

The number of COVID-positive patients at Jackson Health System is way down.
The number of COVID-positive patients at Jackson Health System is way down. Screenshot via @DrDWMcMillan/Twitter
It's been a little over a month since the highly contagious Omicron variant peaked around the holidays, causing COVID-19 cases to quadruple and prompting around-the-block lines for testing and hospital beds to fill up across South Florida.

It might be time to knock on some wood.

Yesterday, Miami-Dade County released its COVID-19 Dashboard Report, which shows that cases across the county are down more than 50 percent: from 24,662 cases the previous week to 11,670 this week.

"It would be accurate to say we have seen the peak," Dr. O'Neil Pyke, Jackson Health System's chief medical officer, tells New Times. "The numbers are, indeed, coming down. Hospitalizations are less than the rate of folks being admitted."

According to the Florida Department of Health, coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade have decreased dramatically since the beginning of the year, coming down from 110,806 cases between December 31 and January 6 to 16,617 cases between January 28 and February 3. The seven-day positivity rate has decreased from a whopping 31.3 percent between December 31 and January 6 to 10.5 percent between January 28 and February 3.

At Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade's public hospital conglomerate, the number of COVID-positive patients is down from its peak of 564 patients on January 12 to 218 patients today.

Of those 218 current COVID-positive patients at Jackson Health System, the vast majority — 78.9 percent (178 patients) — have not been vaccinated. Hospital statistics don't specify how many doses most of the vaccinated patients received.

The Florida Department of Health reports that 96 percent of the population in Miami-Dade has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Pyke is concerned about lagging booster doses, which are their lowest in a month. The Miami-Dade COVID-19 Dashboard Report shows that booster doses across the county are drastically down — from 1,619 people receiving their third dose on January 8 to only 337 on February 7.

"Those people [who have not received a booster] who were at risk six months ago are now at risk again for severe disease and death," Pyke warns. "One of the most important things for us to recommend is that anyone out there who is under-vaccinated or are outside of that six-month window needs to think seriously about their risks and proceed with getting vaccinated."

Even though the Omicron variant seems to be in retreat, Pyke isn't ready to call COVID-19 over just yet.

"If we have another variant with equal transmission and is as deadly as the Delta variant, that could mean a world of hurt for our communities," he says. "What we don't want is for people to get complacent with this and revert to behavior that's going to cause another peak because that can certainly happen."
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Michael Majchrowicz is a former staff writer at Miami New Times. He studied journalism at Indiana University and has reported for PolitiFact, The New York Times, Washington Post, the Post and Courier, and Tampa Bay Times.