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Coronavirus resurgent in Lee County

Lee Health reported 111 coronavirus patients on Monday, up from 74 the previous Monday and triple last month's figure

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Jul 22, 2021

In one month, Lee Health went from seeing its coronavirus cases plummet to the point where it stopped announcing COVID-19 hospitalizations to seeing a sharp resurgence in cases as the Delta variant has led to an uptick in cases in Lee County and statewide.

Lee Health reported having 111 patients hospitalized for the coronavirus on Monday – up from 81 three days earlier, 74 the previous Monday and 33 patients nearly a month ago.

Lee Health CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci said approximately 90% of those currently hospitalized with the coronavirus have not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

“We’re seeing a definite increase in the number of patients being hospitalized (for the coronavirus),” Antonucci said. “It wasn’t that long ago (last month) that we had 29 cases,” he said.

It was on June 25 that Lee Health announced they would no longer be issuing daily announcements on the number of COVID-19 cases as the number of hospitalizations slowed. On that day, there were 33 patients – a considerable drop from May when COVID-19 hospitalizations were ranging between 80 patients and more than 100 patients at its hospitals.

Antonucci said the number of cases Lee Health’s hospitals are seeing is consistent with other providers in the state.

Lee Health doesn’t track the Delta variant of COVID-19 which is leading the new resurgence of coronavirus cases. The Delta variant, which emerged in India, is believed to be more transmittable than other variants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC considers the Delta variant to be the dominant strain of COVID-19 and responsible for the majority of recent cases. Lee Health doesn’t have a test for the Delta strain, Antonucci said.

Less than 10% of those being hospitalized have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Nearly all of the cases are for people believed to have been infected with COVID-19 for the first time, Antonucci said. He said the current outbreak is not as deadly as before though approximately 10% are in the intensive care unit.

Lee County is averaging 145 new cases of coronavirus each day, Antonucci said. Two weeks ago, that figure was 55 new cases each day, he said. Those hospitalized range in age from 13 into their 90’s.

Statewide, about 11.3 million people have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Of those, 9.78 million have completed their vaccinations. In Lee County, 394,397 people were vaccinated for COVID-19 as of July 15 out of an estimated population of 773,456. Approximately 57% of those 12 and older have been vaccinated.

The median age for those hospitalized with Lee Health for the coronavirus is 58. There have been 38,388 deaths from COVID-19 in Florida since the pandemic began.

“If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, get the vaccine – it will protect you,” Antonucci said.

For those who are looking to be vaccinated, Lee Health is holding free clinics at its Gulf Coast campus every Tuesday and Friday from 7 a.m to 3:30 p.m.