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COVID shot availability expanded to youths 12-15

By CJ HADDAD - | May 13, 2021

Lee Health announced Thursday the system will now also offer COVID-19 vaccines to those ages 12-15.

Officials said with the recent approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approval for the 12 to 15 age group, Lee Health will schedule appointments for youths that fall into that category.

“It is so important to get our kids in to get the COVID-19 vaccine, so that we can get as many students vaccinated as possible before the next school year starts,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, president and chief executive officer of Lee Health in a statement. “We are urging all parents to please bring their children in to get this potentially life-saving vaccine.”

Lee Health began scheduling appointments for the newly approved age group on Thursday, and a parent or authorized guardian must accompany a minor to receive a vaccination.

“As a pediatric infectious diseases physician, I really want to encourage parents to vaccinate their children for COVID-19 as soon as they’re able,” said Dr. Stephanie Stovall, interim chief of Quality and Patient Safety for Lee Health, in a statement. “We have years of research and data on this type of Pfizer vaccine, and it is safe and effective.”

Those interested can schedule an appointment only by visiting www.leehealth.org. You do not need to be a Lee Health patient as the clinic is open to everyone in the community. A mask is required to enter any Lee Health facility.

By the Numbers

As of Thursday afternoon, there are 2,282,613 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 4,064 since FDOH’s last update Wednesday.

Test results reported to the Department of Health on Wednesday, May 12 resulted in a 4.41% positivity rate among 111,675 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 4.79% (5.65% last week).

Of those testing positive, 92,742 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state.

The death toll increased by 50 from Wednesday’s report, bringing the total number of deaths, both resident and non-resident, to 36,648.

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.

The total number of persons vaccinated as of Thursday throughout Florida was 9,436,587 with 341,614 being in Lee County. According to the state, 7,327,823 individuals have had their vaccine series completed, 273,195 of those being in Lee County.

In Lee County, 71,731 individuals (+189) 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 981 deaths in Lee County — an increase of two from Wednesday’s report.

As of Thursday afternoon, Lee Health had 106 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 10 new admissions and 11 discharges since Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Lee Health had a 17.4% 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 6,125 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from Lee Health facilities since the beginning of the pandemic.

Census as of Thursday afternoon was at 98% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 7.5% 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, 82% of ventilators and 18% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Thursday, there were 13 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 21 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