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Fort Myers Beach sees another record uptick on COVID-19 cases

Lee Health CEO calls on community to find alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving celebrations

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Nov 24, 2020

For the third straight week, Fort Myers Beach set a record for the number of new COVID-19 cases. In the most recent seven-day period ending Monday, the number of coronavirus cases confirmed in the Fort Myers Beach zip code rose from 161 to 209 cases.

The total number of COVID-19 cases on Fort Myers Beach since the pandemic began has more than doubled since 101 total cases were reported Nov. 2.

On Tuesday, Lee Health CEO and President Larry Antonucci called on the local community to final alternative to celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving, especially with the most vulnerable.

“As the pandemic continues and the number of cases rise in our community, we must temper our desire for a traditional Thanksgiving and continue to take steps to remain safe and healthy. Continue to wear a mask and socially distance from others and remember to frequently wash your hands,” Antonucci said.

“Find alternate ways to celebrate with friends and family members, especially those who are most vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19,” Antonucci said during a call with the media on Tuesday. “The sacrifices we make now will help contain the virus and ensure that you and your loved ones spend many more joyous holidays together.”

Antonucci said “it is a natural desire to want to gather around the table for a traditional Thanksgiving celebration and spend quality time with loved ones. But as we all know, nothing in the past months has been normal and this holiday season will be like no other we have experienced.”

On the positive side, Antonucci said Lee Health is working with health officials to be ready for the distribution of a vaccine. No timetable has been set yet as to when such a vaccine will be available.

The Town of Fort Myers Beach has a mask mandate still in effect for those unable to socially distance and at all businesses, excluding those sitting down to dine at restaurants.

A number of regional and state representatives announced recently that they have contacted the coronavirus, including Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), State Senator Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) and State Representative Adam Botana (R-Bonita Springs). Botana and Rodrigues couldn’t be reached for comment.

Scott’s press office stated that the Naples Republican has been quarantining at his home since Nov. 13 after a positive test.

In a statement, Scott said “I am feeling good and experiencing very mild symptoms. I will be working from home in Naples until it is safe for me to return to Washington, D.C. I want to remind everyone to be careful and do the right things to protect yourselves and others. Wear a mask. Social distance. Quarantine if you come in contact with someone positive like I did. As we approach Thanksgiving, we know this holiday will be different this year. But, listen to public health officials and follow their guidance. We will beat this together, but we all have to be responsible. I want to thank all the incredible health care workers who are working around the clock to care for patients and I pray that by next Thanksgiving, COVID-19 will be a thing of the past.”

Lee County’s new confirmed COVID-19 positives for the seven-day period ending on Sunday rose from 26,438 to 28,279 for an increase of approximately 7% over the past week, according to figures from the Florida Department of Health.

Statewide, the number of confirmed positives for COVID-19 rose from 889,864 to 944,745 for the seven-day period on data released Monday by the Florida Department of Health. The latest data represents an increase of 6% over the previous week.

The number of deaths related to the coronavirus rose statewide rose from 17,775 to 18,310 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 542 on Nov. 16 to 563 on data reported Monday.

At Lee Health, there were 140 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 on Monday, up from 96 a week earlier.