Lee Health: Coronavirus cases back on sharp incline | News, Sports, Jobs

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In a month, Lee Health went from a decline in coronavirus to the point where it stopped announcing COVID-19 hospitalizations to an almost staggering resurgence in cases.

Lee Health reported that 111 patients were hospitalized for the coronavirus on July 19, up from 81 three days earlier, 74 the previous Monday, and 33 patients almost a month ago.

It wasn’t until June 25 that Lee Health announced that it would stop issuing daily announcements regarding the number of COVID-19 cases. There were 33 patients that day – a significant decrease from May when more than 100 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized for several days.

Dr. Larry Antonucci, chief executive officer of Lee Health, said about 90 percent of people currently hospitalized with the coronavirus have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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

Antonucci said the number of cases Lee Health’s hospitals see is in line with other providers in the state.

Lee Health is not tracking the delta variant of COVID-19 which is believed to play a role in a new coronavirus case resurgence. Delta was first discovered in India and is considered more transmissible than other variants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

Less than 10 percent of patients admitted to hospital are vaccinated against COVID-19. Almost all cases involve people believed to be infected with COVID-19 for the first time, Antonucci said. He said the current outbreak is not as deadly as it was before, even though about 10 percent are in intensive care.

Lee County has an average of 145 new cases of coronavirus each day, Antonucci said. Two weeks ago there were 55 new cases every day. The age groups treated in the hospital are between 13 and 90 years.

Around 11.3 million people nationwide were vaccinated against COVID-19. Of these, 9.78 million have completed their vaccinations. In Lee County, 394,397 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 on July 15, out of an estimated population of 773,456. About 57 percent of people aged 12 and over are vaccinated.

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

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

For those looking to get vaccinated, Lee Health holds free clinics on its Gulf Coast campus every Tuesday and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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