Saturday Update: Eight New Virus Cases in Seven Days on Sanibel

The total number of COVID-19 cases since March is at 82 on Sanibel, according to Florida’s Data and Surveillance Dashboard on Saturday, Nov. 21. That’s up from 77 on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and an increase of eight new cases since Saturday, Nov. 14. Sanibel’s Acting Mayor Mick Denham has extended the state of local emergency declaration through Nov. 24, which includes the mandate on face coverings while indoors at public places. The city is also encouraging social distancing and avoiding group gatherings to prevent further spread of the virus.

Comments (1)

  1. Bill and Shelley Greggs

    Thank you for continuing to cover this issue and for publishing letters letters from concerned residents. After what was shocking news on Nov 15 about the dramatic increase in infections, we sent this letter to City Council. Another week later and another 10 cases – still no stepped up action from the City.

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    SantivaChronicle: “Virus Cases Jump to 74 on Sanibel
    There is a total of 74 COVID-19 cases on Sanibel since March, according to Florida’s Data and Surveillance Dashboard on Saturday, Nov. 14. That is up from 68 on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and an increase of nine new cases since Saturday, Nov. 7.”

    Perhaps this is not unexpected with the initial arrival of incoming winter residents from the north where infections are exploding in concert with the expected acceleration of outbreaks across Florida due the Governor’s opening actions in September.

    In any case, it’s time for the City Council to get back into crisis mode on controlling what will likely be an ever worsening outbreak over the next 4-5 months. The effort that has pulled back to business as usual weekly declarations needs to be stepped up and focused on minimizing the likelihood of intense outbreaks on the island. Just continuing along with the current weekly state of emergency renewals will be insufficient. Some possible actions to consider:

    – Don’t wait until the next regularly scheduled Council meeting – this surge in infections is a scary signal that bad times are coming, likely even worse than July/August and for a longer period. Get together to face the coming reality, discuss actions and put them into place now rather than later. Re-institute weekly COVID-19 Council meetings.
    – Reinstate timely updates on new infections to the city email distribution. It’s not clear what the rationale was for stopping regular communication about each new 33957 infection, but it should be brought back. Every infection announcement is a stark reminder to residents and businesses that the pandemic continues with us and we cannot let our guards down.
    Consider instituting a temporary public health office with authority to conduct contact tracking/tracing on infections. This would help city officials to identify local sources/causes and institute local policy corrections in a more timely and targeted way.
    – Get the County Commissioners to take preventive action on the coming surge. Perhaps the new member there may be helpful in raising their responsiveness and action levels. As we saw in July whatever happens on Sanibel will be much worse on the other side of the bridge.
    – Stimulate the reactivation of the high profile efforts by the Sanibel Chamber and Rental organizations on what actions should be taken to prepare for the huge wave of visitors coming at the holidays and over the winter. No one who lives or visits here regularly wants Sanibel to become “Sick Island”. We appreciate that some island interests might be averse to any increase of communication and activity on this topic in order to avoid press that might impact seasonal business. But what we are recommending is an emphasis on preventive steps to facilitate a safe AND successful season.

    We continue to be thankful for the strong actions that Council has taken on this issue in the past nine months and look forward to seeing a re-invigorated effort starting immediately.

    Thank you,

    Bill and Shelley Greggs
    Sanibel

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