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Same-day appointments for COVID vaccines readily available

By CJ HADDAD - | Apr 29, 2021

Local health officials say COVID-19 vaccines are more readily availably now than ever before.

Florida Department of Health in Lee County Health Officer Angela Smith said residents are able to schedule appointments “on demand” at the Lee County vaccine site at the old Sears building at the Edison Mall online and through local pharmacies and other healthcare providers.

“FDOH Lee has same day appointments available most days,” Smith said via email.

For this week, FDOH Lee has 3,000 first doses and 13,341 second doses scheduled.

Smith said vaccines are being ordered by FDOH on a weekly basis now instead of being allocated.

As far as the possibility of vaccines going unused due to low interest, Smith said, “FDOH Lee staff adhere strictly to CDC vaccination storage and handling guidelines so as not to have to discard vaccines. Ordering is adjusted as necessary to accommodate any days all appointment slots were not booked in full so no vaccine is wasted.”

She added, “FDOH Lee continues to work to educate the public about the safety and efficacy of COVID 19 vaccinations in decreasing serious illness and death from COVID 19 infections in an effort to decrease any vaccine hesitancy. We strive to get as many people as possible vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and eradicate COVID 19 in our community.”

By the Numbers

As of Thursday afternoon, there are 2,228,212 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 5,666 since FDOH’s last update Wednesday.Test results reported to the Department of Health on Wednesday, April 28 resulted in a 5.73% positivity rate among 121,070 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 6.39% (7.07% last week).

Of those testing positive, 90,262 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state.

The death toll increased by 55 from Wednesday’s report, bringing the total number of deaths, both resident and non-resident, to 35,777.

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 Thursday throughout Florida was 8,740,620 with 319,608 being in Lee County. According to the state, 6,073,726 individuals have had their vaccine series completed, 226,033 of those being in Lee County.

In Lee County, 69,191 individuals (+306) have tested positive as of Thursday’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 959 deaths in Lee County, an increase of two from Wednesday’s report.

As of Thursday afternoon, Lee Health had 124 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 19 new admissions and 10 discharges since Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Lee Health had a 15.1% 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 5,918 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from Lee Health facilities since the beginning of the pandemic.

Census as of Thursday afternoon was at 93% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 9% 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 Thursday, 71% of ventilators and 9% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Thursday, there were 10 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 19 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.

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