By Lisa Cilli

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The number of newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has reversed course, surging more than 60% over the past two weeks from an average of about 12,000 a day to around 19,500, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Many of those cases are in the southeast, including Florida, where the COVID-19 positivity rate has jumped back up to nearly 8%, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The rise in many places has been blamed on too many unvaccinated people and the highly contagious Delta variant which makes up 52% of all COVID-19 cases in the country. It is also fast becoming the dominant strain in South Florida.

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So far, more than 11 million people have been vaccinated in Florida but with rising cases and COVID variants popping up, it’s not enough.

In its weekly report released on July 9, the Florida Department of Health data shows Miami-Dade and Broward’s positivity rates are once again more than 5% and in Monroe County it is more than 9%.

(CBS4)

In addition, Johns Hopkins University data shows Miami-Dade is one of the top four counties in the country for confirmed COVID-19 cases with 515,765 cases reported. Florida has a total of 2,404,895 cases reported.

Part of these totals are so-called vaccine breakthrough cases which is when vaccinated people still contract the virus. Although rare, the CDC says vaccine breakthrough cases are expected because no vaccine is 100% effective.

So, what is the percentage of breakthrough COVID-19 cases in South Florida?

That’s not an easy answer, according to Florida International University Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Aileen Marty.

“It isn’t easy to obtain those data because (1), we are not necessarily testing all breakthrough cases, and (2), they are not published on a per-state basis in a timely fashion.”

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Dr. Marty also explained to CBSMiami.com, “The overwhelming number of cases we see currently of COVID-19 in the USA (and in Florida and our Miami-Dade County) are unvaccinated adults.” She added those unvaccinated adults are mostly young adults but also include people of ages ranging from their 20s to their 80s.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and want to know if you have the Delta variant, it’s not that easy to find out.

“To know if someone has Delta Variant, you need to perform special Nucleic Acid tests (either using primers specific for the mutations known to exist uniquely in the delta variant in an rt-PCR [or similar test] or by sequencing).  This detailed testing is NOT widely available,” explained Dr. Marty. “We need to request that CDC release official primers for Delta Variant to labs that are currently doing PCR tests or allow for sequencing to be done as a CLIA test and not as a research procedure.”

It’s important to remember with the uptick in positivity rates, if you or someone you know tests positive, you must follow the same CDC protocols to prevent spreading the virus.

In addition, vaccinated people should still be tested for COVID-19 if they’ve been exposed to someone who tests positive, said Dr. Marty.

Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus including those who have been vaccinated.

If you haven’t been vaccinated, you should still be wearing a mask in indoor public places. In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings but should consider it in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.

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