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Coronavirus figures rise steadily statewide, locally

Hospitalizations at Lee Health rose from 48 on Oct. 12 to 77 as of Oct. 21

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Oct 22, 2020

Lee County’s new confirmed COVID-19 positives rose from 21,363 on Oct. 12 to 22,023 on Monday, an increase of 3% over the past week. That is a slight bump from the 2.8% increase in cases reported from Oct. 4 through Oct. 11, according to figures provided by the Florida Department of Health.

On Fort Myers Beach, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose from 92 to 95 this past week. The town has largely kept pace with Lee County in the rate of increase that has been reported for COVID-19 over the past several months.

Statewide, the number of confirmed positives for COVID-19 rose from 736,024 last week to 756,727 on data released Monday, representing a 2.8% increase over the previous week. Those figures essentially mirrored the week-to-week change from the prior week.

The number of deaths related to the coronavirus rose statewide from 15,412 on Oct. 12 to 16,222 on figures reported Monday, for a 5% increase. That represents an uptick from the 3% increase in deaths recorded over the prior week by the Florida Department of Health. The death reports don’t necessarily mean they occurred on those days but that is when they were processed in state reports. On Monday, the state documented COVID-19 related deaths in Lee County from August that hadn’t yet been recorded.

In Lee County, the number of deaths rose from 483 to 494 over the last week. The latest recorded death in Lee County confirmed by the Florida Department of Health to be related to COVID-19 was of a 59-year-old female on Oct. 13.

At Lee Health, the number of patients isolated for COVID-19 in its hospitals rose from 48 a week earlier to 68 on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the hospital reported 77 patients in its hospitals were hospitalized for COVID-19. The peak for COVID-19 hospitalizations at Lee Health was in July when the hospital was reporting more than 300 hospitalizations.

Of the 68 new cases reported countywide on Oct. 18, 54% were for people 44 or younger. The 15-24 demographic accounted for 26% of the new cases recorded Oct. 18.

More than 5.7 million people have been tested for the coronavirus in Florida. Of those tested, approximately 13% were positive for COVID-19. Of those testing positive in Florida for the coronavirus, more than 47,000 (6.2%) have been hospitalized.

On Thursday, Lee Health CEO Larry Antonucci stated “We expected some level of increased spread as we enter our winter season and our population grows. The more people we have in our community the more cases we expect to see. Seasonal residents tend to be older and more vulnerable to the coronavirus, and it is imperative to continue to practice the same safety precautions that have become second nature to help keep them safe. The fact remains that the safest way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when out in public is to wear a mask, regularly wash your hands and keep a safe physical distance from others.

“In addition to these safety precautions, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and our community is to get your annual flu shot. Many symptoms of the flu and coronavirus overlap with each other,” Antonucci said.

“We don’t know how much longer this pandemic will last, and I am asking our community to please do your part in protecting your friends, family and neighbors. Continue to wear your mask and practice physical distancing, and please get your flu shot. Scientists and researchers are getting closer to a vaccine, but until that time we must do everything in our power to keep each other safe and limit the toll the coronavirus takes on our community.”