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Masks required at all airports

Flying in or out of Southwest Florida International? Prepare to cover up.

By CJ HADDAD - | Feb 2, 2021

Lee County Port Authority officials on Monday detailed the mandate and stated that failure to comply may result in removal and denial of re-entry.

“Refusing to wear a mask in or at RSW is a violation of federal law and individuals may be subject to penalties under federal law,” the release stated.

Officials said that the Transportation Security Administration has directed that all U.S. airports require that masks be worn to mitigate the potential spread of the virus throughout airports. These requirements were developed by the TSA in consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The directive does exempt some individuals from wearing masks. They include: children under the age of 2; people with disabilities who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act; and people for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.

The release stated that the federal law and mask requirement would also apply to customers and guests using the terminal building at Base Operations at Page Field.

For more information on RSW, visit www.flylcpa.com.

By the Numbers

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 1,737,640 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 11,423 since FDOH’s last update Monday.

Test results reported to the Department of Health on Monday, Feb.1 resulted in an 8.36% positivity rate among 148,722 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.

The average positivity rate in new cases over the last week is 8.77%. Percent positivity rates in new cases have been over 5% since Oct. 29.

Of those testing positive, 72,858 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state.

The death toll increased by 140 from Monday’s report, bringing the total number of deaths, both resident and non-resident, to 27,129.

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 of persons vaccinated as of Tuesday throughout Florida was 1,747,761 with 63,231 being in Lee County. According to the state, 372,207 individuals have received their first and second doses, 12,030 of those being in Lee County.

In Lee County, 53,081 individuals (+261) 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 808 deaths in Lee County, an increase of 14 since Monday’s report.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Lee Health had 150 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 29 new admissions and 23 discharges since Monday. Over the weekend, Lee Health saw new 46 admissions and 58 discharges.

On Monday, Lee Health had a 25% 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.

A total of 4,845 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from Lee Health facilities since the beginning of the pandemic.

Census as of Tuesday afternoon was at 93% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 11% 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, 72% of ventilators and 9% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Tuesday, there were 12 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 23 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.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj