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COVID-19 Morning Report

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Florida Department of Health

State health officials reported 11,256 new COVID-19 cases, Monday, for a total of 1,376,692 infections. The Florida Department of Health also reported 103 new coronavirus-related deaths, yesterday, for a total of 22,415 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

The latest single-day positivity rate reported by the Florida Division of Emergency Management increased to 14.7% on Sunday. Over the past two weeks the single-day positivity rate has ranged between 9.98% and 26.32%.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reports that as of this morning 543 patients were admitted to hospitals with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 in Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota Counties combined. AHCA reports 16 more COVID-19 hospitalized patients in Southwest Florida than the previous day.

Lee Health reported Monday that 185 patients were being treated for COVID-19 throughout the health system's hospitals.

Currently 70% of Lee Health's ventilator capacity and 5% of ICU rooms are available. The health system reports having 11 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 24 COVID-19 positive patients in intensive care.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management also reported that as of Monday that 260,655 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered across Florida.

Gov. DeSantis Tells Hospitals to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Governor Ron DeSantis is warning Florida hospitals that if they're not delivering doses of the COVID-19 vaccine rapidly enough, they could have their available supply of vaccine doses re-directed to other hospitals.

During a news conference Monday at Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital in Longwood, DeSantis gave an update on Florida's vaccination effort. The Orlando Sentinel reports, DeSantis did not specify which hospitals he thinks are not moving the vaccine fast enough.

The Daytona Beach News Journal reports, during Monday’s media conference, DeSantis described several ways he's working to expedite vaccine doses getting to Floridians. One possibility involves opening more vaccine clinic sites and expanding state-run COVID-19 testing sites already in operation into large-scale vaccination clinics.

DeSantis also talked about finding places of worship to serve as vaccination locations in underserved communities.

He also suggested using the Florida Department of Emergency Management to bring in an additional 1,000 nurses to assist vaccination efforts and directing the State Emergency Response Team to bring more vaccine doses to residents of long-term care facilities.

Demand for COVID-19 Vaccine Doses in SWFL Outpaces Supply

When Lee County's phone line went live to book appointments for the COVID-19 Vaccine, Monday afternoon, all 5,000 available doses this week were pre-booked in under four minutes.

During a news conference, Monday, county officials said the phone line had been shut down as demand overwhelms available supply. The phone line received an average of 50,000 calls per minute.

More than 10,000 people have been vaccinated in Lee County to date.

Vaccine screening and consent forms, as well as other information, can be found online at leegov.com/covid-19/vaccine.

The location for administering inoculations in Lee County has been consolidated to a single place: 16000 Chamberlin Parkway, Fort Myers, which is the site of the old Southwest Florida International Airport terminal parking lot east of I-75 off Daniels Parkway.

Collier County's online reservation system is also booked up for this week as well. The Collier Department of Health has canceled COVID-19 testing at all sites with the exception of North Collier Regional Park Soccer Fields from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7.

Officials in Sarasota and Manatee Counties have been provided 3,500 hundred doses each of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and appointments to receive the shots continue to fill up rapidly there as well.

The Herald Tribune reports, the 800 appointment spots for Monday were completely taken just over an hour after the online-only appointment system began taking appointments on Sunday afternoon.

In Sarasota, inoculations are being performed at the William L. Little Health and Human Services facility on Ringling Blvd. A drive-thru vaccine clinic is also being held in Manatee County at Bennett Park in Bradenton.

Key West Officials Seek Authority to Impose Fines on COVID-19 Mandate Violators

The city of Key West is considering sending a message to Gov. DeSantis: Give it more authority when it comes to COVID-19 regulations.

The city commission is set to vote Tuesday, Jan. 5 on a resolution calling on the governor to allow cities to collect fines and make more rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the resolution, the governor's executive order that restricts what local governments can do is "a severe hindrance to protecting public health."

FL Lawmaker Calls for Sanctions Against Mar-a-Lago After New Year’s Eve Party

A Florida lawmaker is calling for President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach County to be punished after a New Year's Eve party was held there, possibly in violation of local ordinances aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The AP reports few of the 500 guests at the event wore masks. State Rep. Omari Hardy, D-West Palm Beach, said the county needs to take action against the President's private club out of fairness to other area businesses that have been punished for violating COVID-19 ordinances as well as businesses that have followed the local mandates.

Officials in Palm Beach County say they're investigating.

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