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COVID-19 Morning Report

Florida Department of Health

More Than Two Million People in Florida Vaccinated Against COVID-19

In total, over 2.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Florida so far. About one third of those who have been vaccinated have completed the two-shot vaccination series.

In keeping with the state’s goal of getting senior citizens vaccinated first, more than seven out of ten of those who have received a shot are 65 or older.

Speaking in Miami Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis said more seniors have been vaccinated in Florida than in any other state.

“A third or more of the seniors in Florida have gotten one shot. Of all the vaccines that have been administered, we are close to 75% of all vaccines that have been administered have gone to senior citizens,” said DeSantis.

However, critics of the governor say just getting shots into people’s arms is not enough. Speaking to reporters via Zoom, Florida House Minority Co-Leader Evan Jenne pointed to large Super Bowl crowds across the Tampa Bay region over the weekend as a reason COVID-19 cases will likely jump over the next week.

“We’re going to get shots in arms and we are going to be safe, but simultaneously at the same time, we are really kind of cheerleading and acting as cheerleaders for these massive events that are only going to cause the virus to spread more,” said Jenne.

Florida Reports 5,737 COVID-19 Cases and 120 Deaths On Monday

State health officials reported 5,737 new COVID-19 cases, Monday, for a total of 1,783,720 infections. The Florida Department of Health reported 120 coronavirus-related deaths, Feb. 8, increasing the statewide death toll to 28,287 fatalities.

The latest single-day positivity rate reported by the Florida Division of Emergency Management increased to 10.42% on Sunday. Over the past two weeks the single-day positivity rate has ranged between 7.09% and 10.42%.

The Agency for Health Care Administration reports that as of this morning 5,366 patients are admitted to hospitals throughout the state with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19, including 364 patients in hospitals in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hendry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota counties combined.

Lee Health reported Monday afternoon that 115 patients were being treated for COVID-19 throughout the health system's hospitals.

Currently 77% of Lee Health's ventilator capacity and 13% of ICU rooms are available. The health system reports having 11 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 18 COVID-19 positive patients in intensive care.

As of Monday morning, AHCA reports 2,016,291 people in Florida have received a COVID-19 vaccine including 1,322,426 people who have received a first dose, and 693,865 people who have completed the series with two doses.

Lee Health Receives 1,000 Vaccine Doses Primarily For High Risk People Under 65

Lee Health received another 1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week. The hospital system's President and CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci told reporters, Monday afternoon, that most of those doses are intended for people under 65 who are at higher risk from the virus, but some will also go to frontline medical workers.

Dr. Antonucci said Lee Health will use medical records to identify patients under 65 who are most at risk and contact them to make vaccine appointments. Antonucci said patients with the most co-morbidities will be given priority and contacted by the health system.

“We kindly ask that people not call to check on their eligibility as the volume of calls overwhelms our phone system and prevents others from reaching us for their care,” said Antonucci.

“The vaccine is in high demand, and we want to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible, but I am asking for patience as we work on protecting the most vulnerable people in our community first.”

Last week, Lee Health's Board of Directors sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis and other state leaders saying that Florida's current vaccine distribution plan is leaving frontline medical workers vulnerable and unable to secure the vaccine for themselves because the state has shifted it delivery of vaccine doses away from hospitals and toward county health departments and private entities like Publix.

Sarasota To Distribute 7,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses This Week

Officials in Sarasota County announced, Friday, they’re receiving 7,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week. Those shots are slated for people waiting to receive their first dose of vaccine and the inoculations will be given at distribution clinics Feb. 9 - 11.

The Herald Tribune reports, the county began giving out appointments, Saturday, to those signed up through its registration system.

People who received a first dose of the vaccine in Sarasota between Jan. 8 and Jan. 15 should expect to be contacted about scheduling their second dose on Thursday.

Physicians Say Even Those Who Had COVID-19 Should Be Vaccinated

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's Dr. Dean Watson said even those who have had the coronavirus should be vaccinated against the disease.

"A lot of studies indicate that immunity from this virus may last for at least 90 days and up to 6 months,” said Dr. Watson.

“The studies are still ongoing. The reinfection risk is low, but it can happen and that's why vaccinating all involved is imperative."

Watson said that's important because many studies show a second COVID infection may be far more serious than the first.

Goodwill Helps Seniors Navigate COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Systems

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is available to help seniors register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment on the statewide system. Contact the Goodwill near you to be connected with a Goodwill Community Resource Center. Or check the WGCU News liveblog of vaccine information.

South Florida Volunteers Helping Seniors Navigate Vaccine Appointment Registration

More than 100 people in Florida are now part of a volunteer effort to help seniors navigate the technology-laden registration system for securing a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

The AP reports, the volunteer group stepped up after seeing the confusion brought on when the state opened up vaccine eligibility to people 65 and older. Their work involves monitoring numerous online registration platforms, checking on vaccine supplies and making calls to overloaded hotlines.

Currently about 3,000 seniors are waiting for one of about 120 volunteers to help them with navigating the systems. The volunteer group is encouraging other tech-savvy young people to help their older relatives secure vaccine appointments. For more information, visit the South Florida Covid-19 Vaccination Info page on Facebook.

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