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CDC issues new outdoor mask guidelines for those who have received vaccinations

By CJ HADDAD - | Apr 27, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has rolled out new guidelines when it comes to wearing masks outdoors for those who are vaccinated.  

The CDC on Tuesday said it is safe for fully vaccinated people to unmask outside during small gatherings (or dining). The CDC continues to recommend those who have not received a vaccine wear a mask while at these gatherings.  

CDC officials said individuals should avoid large indoor gatherings and encouraged mask use indoors in general — vaccinated or not.  

President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday said these new guidelines should encourage Americans to become vaccinated.  

“The bottom line is clear, if you’re vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors,” Biden said Tuesday. “So for those who haven’t gotten their vaccination yet — especially if you’re younger — or thinking you don’t need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated.” 

He added, “The vaccines are about saving your life, but also the lives of the people around you. They’re also about helping us get back to closer to normal in our living, more normal living. Getting together with friends, going to the park for a picnic without needing to mask up. We’re back to that place now as long as you get vaccinated. So go get the shot, it’s never been easier.” 


By the Numbers           

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 2,217,388 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 5,217 since FDOH’s last update Monday.           

Test results reported to the Department of Health on Monday, April 26, resulted in a 6.92% positivity rate among 93,231 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 6.53 (7.31% percent average the week before).         

Of those testing positive, 88,808 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state.           

The death toll increased by 46 from Monday’s report, bringing the total number of deaths, both resident and non-resident, to 35,646.     

According to the state, hospitalizations in Lee County make up 3% of all positive cases. At the state level, 4% of all positive cases result in hospitalization. The percentage of deaths statewide account for 2% of all cases and, in Lee County, stand at 1% 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 8,625,933 with 316,347 being in Lee County. According to the state, 5,884,717 individuals have their vaccine series completed, 218,410 of those being in Lee County.            

In Lee County, 68,261 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, 2020, when a man and a woman, each 77, tested positive. They had traveled to the Dominican Republic.           

There have been 956 deaths in Lee County, an increase of one since Monday’s report.           

As of Tuesday afternoon, Lee Health had 106 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 15 new admissions and 15 discharges since Monday. Over the weekend, Lee Health saw 38 new COVID-19 admissions and 45 discharges.           

On Monday, Lee Health had a 15.2% 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 5,898 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from Lee Health facilities since the beginning of the pandemic.            

Census as of Tuesday afternoon was at 92% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 7.8% 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 10% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.           

As of Tuesday, there were 10 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 24 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