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Additional vaccination doses to be available locally Thursday, Friday

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 19, 2021


Additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available to those 65 or older and frontline healthcare workers this Thursday and Friday.

The Florida Department of Health-Lee and Lee County government announced on Tuesday that they have enough vaccine supply to schedule roughly 5,800 appointments for Thursday, Jan. 21, and Friday, Jan. 22, at the county’s site near the airport.

Officials said beginning at 9 a.m. today, Jan. 20, those eligible can call a toll-free number (866-200-3468) to reserve a slot while available. The county will continue to use vendor Tidal Basin to take calls.

“The reservation slots are expected to be claimed quickly, likely within minutes,” officials said.

Tidal Basin representatives said individuals who are on the phone will either be scheduled for appointments while on the line or will be prompted to leave their contact information to receive a call back. Officials said some people will receive a message that all slots are full, once that occurs.

According to officials, FDOH-Lee administered nearly 9,000 doses during last week alone at the site and have vaccinated more than 19,000 at county sites since Dec. 28.

‘Supporting Our Health Care Heroes’

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis was joined by healthcare workers Tuesday at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers as part of his “Supporting Our Health Care Heroes” COVID-19 Liability Protections tour. Patronis recently released his “guiding principles” on liability protections to help lawmakers as they craft legislation for the upcoming legislative session.

His principles include: Businesses must do right by employees and customers; Protections must be consistent and simple; and Justice should come first, not attorney profits.

Patronis, in his principles, says, “If the Florida Legislature is to take steps to protect businesses from legal liabilities, there should be an expectation that business owners have taken reasonable steps to ensure they’re watching out for the health and safety of their employees and customers. Not only does promoting good behavior by businesses to combat the Coronavirus make good business sense, but also it sends a message to the nation that Florida can both open its economy and keep people safe.”

He continued, “Florida’s economic rebound will meet its full potential when employers feel comfortable that they can hire and grow without facing an army of law firms aimed at growing their margins through sue-and-settle tactics. Tallahassee has a way of muddying up and over-complicating good ideas. Drawing arbitrary distinctions across sectors and empowering unelected bureaucrats to make decisions on who is protected from frivolous lawsuits is bad policy. For liability protections to work, business owners and taxpayers need clear and concise direction, and a convoluted law won’t make people safer – it will incentivize employers to skirt the law.”

Patronis said any employer that is willfully negligent and puts their employees at risk should face consequences.

“Any protections passed by the Legislature must ensure there are no huge moneymaking opportunities to be made for attorneys,” he said. “The only incentive for bringing suits forward should be justice. Any suits that are brought forward should be done so because there is a good case to be made – not because the pandemic presents itself as a lucrative business opportunity.”

By the numbers

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 1,589,097 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 9,186 since FDOH’s last update Monday.

Test results reported to the Department of Health on Monday, Jan. 18 resulted in a 8.97% positivity rate among 129,880 tests.

The state saw its highest daily percentage of positive patients on Dec. 29 when 22.75% percent of tests reported were positive among 62,303 tests.

Positivity rates in new cases have been just under 10% for the last four days. Percent positivity rates in new cases have been over 5% since Oct. 29.

Of those testing positive, 68,478 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state.

The death toll increased by 168 from Monday’s report, bringing the total number of deaths, both resident and non-resident, to 24,820.

According to the state, hospitalizations in Lee County, and statewide in Florida, make up 4% of all positive cases. Deaths statewide and in Lee County stand at 2% of positive cases.

On Dec. 27, 974 people were given the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine throughout the state according to FDOH. The total number vaccinated as of Tuesday throughout Florida was 1,066,107 with 35,163 being in Lee County. According to the state, 100,351 individuals have received their first and second doses, 1,793 of those being in Lee County.

In Lee County, 48,778 individuals (+340) have tested positive as of Tuesday’s update.

Positive COVID-19 cases in the county have ranged from infants to a 103-year-old. Lee County saw its first two cases on March 7, when a man and a woman, each 77, tested positive. They had traveled to the Dominican Republic.

There have been 730 deaths in Lee County, an increase of one since Monday’s report.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Lee Health had 172 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 27 new admissions and 33 discharges over the weekend.

A total of 4,529 patients who had tested positive have been discharged since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Monday, Lee Health had a 30.3% positivity rate on COVID-19 tests processed through Lee Health Labs. This represents Lee Health results only, not Lee County as a whole. Hospital positivity rates tend to be higher as the tests are performed on patients seeking treatment for a health issue, not the general public that includes asymptomatic individuals.

Census as of Tuesday afternoon was at 93% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 12.6% of those being COVID-19 patients. Staffed operational capacity reflects the number of beds for which the hospital has adequate staffing, not the total number of beds within Lee Health hospitals. Overall bed capacity fluctuates hour to hour as the system discharges patients throughout the day who are ready to go home.

As of Tuesday, 74% of ventilators and 16% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Tuesday, there were six COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 18 in the intensive care unit.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious viral disease. For most individuals, symptoms are mild. For a minority, the disease becomes a type of viral pneumonia with severe complications. Especially at risk are those who are older, those with underlying health conditions and the immune-compromised.

Officials strongly urge all members of the public who are at risk to remain at home so as to limit exposure. All others are urged to observe social distancing and to wear a mask for all public interactions.

For more detail on Florida resident cases, visit the live DOH Dashboard.

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For information and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control, visit the CDC COVID-19 website. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, visit the travel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.