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Fort Myers Beach sees record number of coronavirus cases

Fort Myers Beach Councilmember Dan Allers tests positive for COVID-19

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Nov 17, 2020

Fort Myers Beach Councilmember Dan Allers announced he tested positive for COVID-19 this past week

For the second straight week, Fort Myers Beach set a record for the number of new COVID-19 cases.

The Florida Department of Health reported 161 total cases for the coronavirus in the Fort Myers Beach zip code on data updated Monday. That is up from 125 cases seven days earlier, for a 28% week-to-week increase with 36 new cases. The total number of cases recorded this past week was the most recorded in a week for Fort Myers Beach since the pandemic began, breaking the previous record set a week earlier.

In the past two weeks, the number of new COVID-19 cases on Fort Myers Beach has increased by 59.4% since there were 101 total cases reported Nov. 2.

Town of Fort Myers Beach Councilmember Dan Allers announced last Wednesday over social media that he tested positive for the coronavirus and would quarantine for 10 days. Allers participated in Monday’s town council meeting by phone.

In September, Allers floated the idea that the town council discuss lifting its mask mandate. In his announcement on social media that he contracted the coronavirus this past week, Allers said “practice social distancing and wear a mask when you can’t.” Allers, who voted against the mask mandate, had also been supportive last month of going forward with New Year’s Eve fireworks against objections from other councilmembers that the COVID-19 pandemic was still a threat.

Fort Myers Beach Ray Murphy has called on town staff to step up its enforcement of the town’s mask mandate, which has been effect since the summer. In recent weeks, staff delivered flyers to every business in town to remind them of the town’s mandate requiring the masks.

Masks are required for workers and customers at businesses in town except in cases where restaurant guests are outdoors, sitting down at their tables indoors, or if they have a disability.

The town’s emergency declaration requiring masks provides for fines of up to $500 for businesses in violation and $50 for individuals.

Lee County’s new confirmed COVID-19 positives for the seven-day period reported on Monday rose from 24,929 on Monday to 26,438 for an increase of 6% over the past week. The previous week-to-week increase in new cases was 4.6%, according to figures from the Florida Department of Health.

Statewide, the number of confirmed positives for COVID-19 rose from 847,821 to 889,864 for the seven-day period on data released Monday by the Florida Department of Health. The latest data represents an increase of about 5% over the previous week.

The number of deaths related to the coronavirus rose statewide rose from 17,391 to 17,775 on figures reported Monday for the latest seven-day period. The death reports don’t necessarily mean they occurred on those days but that is when they were processed in state reports.

In Lee County, the number of deaths rose from 531 to 542 over the last week. The most recently reported death connected to COVID-19 in Lee County was an 88-year-old male on Nov. 14.

At Lee Health, there were 96 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 on Monday, up from 91 the previous week. By Tuesday, the number of patients at Lee Health isolated with COVID-19 was up to 111, the first time the hospital has reported having more than 100 patients isolated with COVID-19 in its care since August.

The hospital’s patient counts have fluctuated over the past month. They have more than doubled since reporting 48 patients with COVID-19 in their care on Nov. 12. Between Friday and Monday, Lee Health reported admitting 55 patients for COVID-19 and discharging 54 patients treated for COVID-19. Another 21 patients were admitted on Monday, while 8 were discharged.