Jobless claims in Florida dropped nearly a quarter last week (copy)

A medical professional applies a nasal swab during testing at the Orange County Health Services COVID-19 drive-thru in Orlando on Thursday.

VENICE — There’s still no firm timeline on the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the state has outlined how it plans to distribute one when it’s available.

Essential personnel and high-risk people are expected to be the first to be immunized.

Florida submitted its draft COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Oct. 16. It notes on each page that “the content in this COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is provisional and subject to change based on guidance from CDC.”

Florida’s plan calls for county health departments to conduct a “vaccine administration exercise” by Dec. 1, two weeks after the CDC deadline.

The state’s proposed plan for distribution involves a broad array of vaccine providers, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, first responders, county and state health department mass vaccination clinics and traditional and retail providers — doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

When the vaccine is initially available and in short supply, it would be distributed in closed “points of dispensing” — PODs. The term “closed” means vaccinating a targeted group.

Based on prior CDC guidance, the plan states that the priority groups likely to be vaccinated first, in closed PODS, are health care personnel; essential workers; persons at high-risk due to medical conditions; and older adults — people 65 and up.

As the supply increases the vaccine will be available in “open” PODs, to the general public. That’s likely to be months from now.

By the numbers

The state reported 5,444 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, the most in more than a month, and 77 deaths. The positivity rate was 5.89% on the most tests — more than 92,000 — in a week.

Sarasota County had 63 new cases and four more deaths, with a positivity rate of 4.57%.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital had 32 patients with COVID-19, seven of whom were in the ICU. Its seven-day positivity ticked up to 3.2% compared to 2.7% in the previous period.

Venice Regional Bayfront Health had seven COVID-19 patients Friday, and two employees in quarantine.

Neither hospital reported a COVID-19-related death overnight.

Of the county’s 344 deaths, 201 have been long-term-care facility residents.

The Sarasota County School District reported eight new cases in the last 48 hours, with an additional 66 people directed to quarantine due to direct contact with an infected person.Currently, five staff and 28 students are isolated and 53 staff and 497 students are in quarantine.


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