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Number of COVID cases in Florida shows a decrease after weeks of gradually rising

Transmission electron micrograph of particles of SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

It's the first time counts have gone down after a late-summer uptick, according to the latest state report. Meantime, the number of residents who have died with the virus is nearing 91,000.

Reported numbers of new COVID-19 cases in Florida decreased during the past two weeks after steadily increasing this summer, according to Florida Department of Health data released Friday.

The report said 19,019 cases were reported during the week that started Sept. 1, and 15,690 cases were reported during the week that started Sept. 8.

That was down from 23,978 cases during the week that started Aug. 25. That was the highest tally of the summer.

To compare, the state had 7,320 reported new cases during the week that started June 23. Cases have been rising steadily since then, although numbers remain far lower than in the previous three summers.

Meantime, the number of state residents who have died of COVID-19 since early 2020 is nearing 91,000.

As of Thursday, 90,740 resident deaths had been reported. That was up from 90,232 reported deaths two weeks earlier.

The new data said 70,533 of the deaths, or nearly 78 percent, involved people age 65 or older. Also, 77,371 of the deaths, or about 85 percent, involved people 60 or older.

Because of lags in reporting, it is unclear when the additional deaths occurred.

COVID has moved into an endemic stage, meaning it regularly occurs within an area or community. To reach that phase, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites stronger immunity, vaccines, at-home tests, effective treatments and common-sense strategies like washing hands and avoiding others when sick.

However, the agency noted there is still a significant risk for transmission among the unvaccinated, especially among those who are older or have underlying health conditions.

A new vaccine has been approved and is being rolled out. A CDC advisory committee recommends its use for ages 6 months and older.

Public health officials say the omicron variant EG.5 has become dominant in the U.S., while BA.2.86 is starting to spread.

The Department of Health releases COVID-19 data every two weeks.