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Flu shots urged

By CJ HADDAD - | Oct 7, 2021

Lee Health officials on Thursday reminded the public that while COVID-19 has been at the forefront, flu season has arrived.

“Flu season is upon us, and it remains as important as ever to receive your annual influenza vaccine,” said Lee Health President and CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci in a statement. “While the current surge of COVID-19 is subsiding, the coronavirus still poses a threat to our community. Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory diseases, but they are caused by different viruses, and exposure to one of these viruses can weaken your lungs and make symptoms worse if you are later exposed to the other.”

Antonucci said that because the flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, being vaccinated against the coronavirus does not protect individuals from the influenza virus, and vice versa.

“I encourage everyone who has not yet received their annual flu shot or their COVID-19 vaccine to do so as soon as possible,” he said. “If you haven’t received either, you can even get both shots done at the same time. This is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during flu season.”

By the numbers

As of Thursday morning, Lee Health had 101 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 10 new COVID-19 admissions and 11 COVID-19 discharges on Wednesday. Of that total, four are under the age of 18 being treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Since the start of the pandemic, Lee Health has reported 1,176 patient deaths inside of its hospitals to COVID-19 related complications, including two on Wednesday.

Census as of Thursday morning was at 86% of staffed operational bed capacity. 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, 68% of ventilators and 15% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Thursday, there were 21 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 30 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.

With the number of COVID- 19 cases again climbing due, in part, to the latest mutation of the virus, the CDC is recommending that even vaccinated individuals “maximize protection from the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others” by wearing a mask indoors in public in areas “of substantial or high transmission.”

The CDC also recommends masks for those at high risk of serious illness from COVID, those with compromised immune systems, those who are older, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Vaccination is highly urged.

For more detail on Florida resident cases, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov.

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

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