Florida COVID Cases Continue to Rocket, Hit 39,000 During Christmas Weekend Surge

Florida reported a total of 39,000 COVID cases Monday representing the Christmas weekend, continuing the spike in cases over the past week as the Omicron variant spreads across the country.

21,040 cases were reported in Florida on Saturday in addition to 17,955 reported Sunday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the past week that ended Sunday, Florida reported over 124,000 cases of COVID, a 332 percent increase from the 28,841 reported the week prior, according to Florida Today as part of a USA Today network analysis of Johns Hopkins University COVID data from across the country.

Hospitalizations are increasing as well, but at a much slower rate, with just under 5,000 likely COVID patients admitted to hospitals last week, compared to just over 3,000 the week before, Florida Today reported.

As testing patterns are disrupted by Christmas and New Year's, it is difficult to obtain an accurate picture of COVID in the state, but the rising numbers of cases and hospitalizations likely illustrate the effect the Omicron variant is having across the country.

Scientists believe the variant may be more transmissible and vaccine-resistant, while also causing less severe illnesses that require hospitalization less often, but many still warn unvaccinated people remain the majority of hospitalizations, and a massive spike in cases of the Omicron variant could still put immense pressure on the nation's hospital system.

Florida, COVID Cases, Testing, Omicron, Delta, Christmas
In an aerial view, cars line up at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Tropical Park on Dec. 22, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Florida continued its spike of COVID cases in recent weeks, reporting over 39,000 positive tests from the holiday weekend, amounting to over 120,000 for the past week. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida has seen a sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases in the past week. Last Friday, it added more than 32,000 cases, a day after reporting 31,000 in one day as well.

Following the Christmas weekend, thousands of Floridians around the state lined up sometimes for hours Monday to get COVID-19 tests. At a testing site on the east side of Orlando, some people waited three hours for their turn.

"I feel terrible. I feel like I wanna be at home in bed, take a cold shower. It's getting tough out here," Irma Bernabe told Orlando television station WESH.

At Miami-Dade County libraries, workers handed out 90,000 free take-home COVID tests, according to the Miami Herald. The county also distributed more than 12,000 tests at its libraries on Christmas Eve.

The number of new COVID-19 cases even forced the cancellation of the latest performance of George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker" by the Miami City Ballet.

The dance company said it had to make "the difficult decision," and only announced it publicly about an hour before the Sunday afternoon show at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami.

"These are challenging times for all and we truly appreciate your support and understanding as we navigate the necessary changes," said the statement posted on the company's Instagram page.

The Miami City Ballet has not yet announced whether the final performances slated for Wednesday and Thursday in West Palm Beach will go on as planned.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.