By Nancy J. Semon, The Daily Sun Staff Writer, Aug 13, 2021
Now that local schools have resumed, COVID-19 cases among students and school personnel are increasing.
Health officials have said the delta variant of COVID-19 is affecting younger people.
So far the Pfizer vaccine is only available to children 12 and older.
Charlotte County Public Schools reported the following cases from Aug. 9-12, the first week of school:
Charlotte High School (1); Deep Creek Elementary School (2); East Elementary (4); Kingsway Elementary (1); Lemon Bay High School (8); Liberty Elementary (1); MCO Center (1); Meadow Park Elementary (1); Myakka River Elementary (1); Neil Armstrong Elementary (2); Peace River Elementary (8); Port Charlotte High School (3); Punta Gorda Middle School (7); Sallie Jones Elementary (3).
South Sarasota County Public Schools reported the following cases on Friday:
Atwater Elementary School (3 students, 1 staff); Cranberry Elementary School (7 students); Glenellen Elementary (7 students); Lamarque Elementary (1 student, 3 staff); Toledo Elementary (1 student); Heron Creek Middle School (3 students, 3 staff); Woodland Middle School (5 students); North Port High School (7 students, 2 staff).
Imagine (charter school), North Port: (9 students on the elementary campus and 5 students from the upper campus).
DeSoto County Public Schools reported the following cases on Friday:
Memorial Elementary School (16 students); Nocatee Elementary (4 students, 2 staff); West Elementary (2 students); DeSoto Middle School (12 students, 2 staff); DeSoto High School (4 students, 2 staff); DeSoto Secondary School (1 student).
All hospitals in Charlotte, Sarasota and DeSoto counties are seeing steep increases in the number of patients admitted for the coronavirus, while cases overall have been soaring, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control data.
Alexandria Benjamin, communications director for Fawcett Memorial Hospital, said the healthcare facility “continues to experience a high volume of patients due to COVID-19.”
But the hospital remains open and continues to admit patients.
“We want to emphasize to the community that our ER is open and safe, around the clock 24/7, for patents to seek care,” she said.
Anyone who has an emergency or urgent situation should “seek immediate care,” Benjamin urged.
Echoing other healthcare professionals, Benjamin said, “We continue to strongly encourage anyone eligible who is not yet vaccinated to please do so now. The majority of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.”
Tara McCoy, CEO of Bayfront Health Port Charlotte and Bayfront Health Punta Gorda, also reported an increase in cases.
“Patient numbers and unit bed availability are fluid throughout any day as patients are discharged and admitted,” she said.
She said both hospitals remain prepared to care for patients needing medical care, whether for COVID-19 or another medical condition.
“We continue to follow CDC guidelines to take the proper precautions to protect our patients, staff and visitors.”
The hospitalization numbers provided by the CDC on Friday reflect Benjamin’s and McCoy’s words:
Charlotte County saw 102 new hospital admissions in the week that ended Aug. 10. This represents 15.38 COVID-19 patients per 100 beds — up 3.03% from the previous week.
The percentage of beds used for COVID-19 patients was 13.76% — up 4.4% for the seven days that ended Aug. 10. The percentage of ICU beds used to treat COVID-19 patients was 37.68% — up 9.24% for the week.
Sarasota County had 248 new hospital admissions in the week that ended Aug. 10. This represents 20.24 COVID-19 patients per 100 beds — up 39.33% for the week.
The percentage of beds used for COVID-19 patients was 19.93% — up 7.38% for the seven days that ended Aug. 10. The percentage of ICU beds used to treat COVID-19 patients was 46.37% — up 16.47% for the week.
DeSoto County saw 12 new hospital admissions in the week the ended Aug. 10. This represents 48.84 COVID-19 patients per 100 beds — up 300% for the week.
The percentage of beds used to treat COVID-19 patients was 25 — up 10.63% for the seven days ending Aug. 10. The percentage of ICU beds used to treat COVID-19 patients was 43.18% — up 14.02% for the week.
In Charlotte County, 53.1% of the population has been fully vaccinated, reported the CDC on Friday. Those 65 and older had the highest rate of any age group for being fully vaccinated, at 79.2%.
Sarasota County reported 57% of its population has been fully vaccinated. Those 65 and older had the highest vaccination rate, at 82.6%.
DeSoto County reported 33.1% of its population has been fully vaccinated, and like the two other counties, those 65 and older had the highest percentage for full vaccination at 65.5%.
The county as a whole reported 729 new cases — an increase of 30.65% in the seven-day period that ended Aug. 11.
The county saw 1,924 new cases — up 35.78%, for the seven-day period that ended Aug. 11.
The county reported 144 new cases of COVID-19 — up 28.57% for the week that ended Aug. 11.
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