by SC Guest Contributor Barbara Joy Cooley
Lee Health, the main hospital system for Lee County, now has both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. At this point, the vaccinations are taking place three days a week in designated rooms at Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center and the Cape Coral Hospital.
“Lee Health is currently vaccinating its key workers and employees over 65,” said Lee Health board member and Sanibel resident Stephen R. Brown, M.D. “They are preparing to inoculate the general public over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions. Then the general public. Even with the vaccines we will still need to follow current protocols. Personally, I’m excited about Johnson and Johnson vaccine which should be ready in February. ”
COVID-19 numbers in the Lee Health system have trended upward during this last week of 2020.
The COVID-19 positivity rate (percent of tests that are positive) for the Lee Health test collection sites has increased from 25.7% on December 21 to 32% on December 29.
In the Lee Health system, occupancy of hospital beds increased from 83% on December 21 to 92% on December 29. Twelve and a half percent of these beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.
There have been 138 cases of COVID-19 among people who call Sanibel and Captiva home. But this does not include cases of COVID-19 among people who work, play, visit, or volunteer on the islands; many or most of them live on the mainland.
As of today (December 30), there have been 38,659 cases in Lee County, which has a total population of 770,577. That’s an increase of approximately 2,000 known cases since December 21. So, about 5 percent of Lee County residents have had COVID-19, as far as is known. An unknown number of people exhibit no symptoms when infected with COVID-19; the virus is only detected when people are tested.
For more information on the incidence of COVID-19 in Florida, click here for the Florida COVID-19 Dashboard. Tabs at the bottom of that web page can be used to find data by county and by zip code.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Florida, click here. There should be a significant increase in the numbers of vaccinations given every day. In order to vaccinate every American by the end of June 2021, about 3.5 million vaccinations would need to occur daily.
Meanwhile, it is important to continue all precautions such as wearing a mask when you are away from your home. If you visit a Sanibel business where the mask mandate is not being observed, avoid that place and share the information with others so that they, too, may protect themselves from COVID-19 exposure. Since the Governor has declared that individuals may not be fined for violating local mask mandates, the mandates are being violated at a variety of places; sharing information about where those places are may save lives. To date, 21,546 Florida residents have died from COVID-19.