The highly contagious COVID-19 delta mutant has created a new wave of infection in Brevard County, raising anxiety among doctors and some civil servants.
“We are on the rise,” said Dr. Jeffrey Starnaker, Chief Clinical Officer at HealthFirst.
Due to the significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Brevard County, local health authorities have urgently urged unvaccinated residents to be vaccinated without delay.
They also urge the entire community to take personal safety measures, such as social distance, frequent hand washing, and wearing face covers in crowded areas, to limit the spread of this potentially deadly virus. I am.
After the vaccine became widely available earlier this year, the daily census of COVID-19 patients occupying beds in HealthFirst’s four Brevard hospitals dropped dramatically to about 20 per day, Stalnaker said. Said. The number was stable for a few months.
However, since early June, delta variants have been steadily increasing, with the number of cases surged to 98 by Wednesday. About 30% are in the intensive care unit.
The sudden and dramatic increase in the number of infections raises concerns among some civil servants, especially those with employees who are at the forefront of responding to illness.
On Wednesday, Palm Bay Fire Chief Leslie Hoog sent an email titled “Emergency-COVID” to Mayor Sae Yamamoto and Human Resources Director Charina Cox.
Hoog said the fire department medical officer was “very distraught and was asked to warn him to mask immediately,” and said the COVID-19 number was out of control. She also mentioned the risks posed by another COVID-19 strain known as the lambda variant.
Health experts say it’s too early to know if the lambda mutant will reach the same level of concern as the Delta strain. However, the World Health Organization in June called Lambda an “interesting mutant.” This means that there are genetic alterations that affect the characteristics of the virus, causing significant community spreads or clusters of COVID-19, primarily in multiple countries in South America.
A little over an hour after receiving the fire chief’s message, Sherman sent an email throughout the city, asking all Palm Bay employees to resume wearing masks on Thursday, when social distance to work was not possible. Did.
“We are asking all vaccinated employees to do this because there is a clear illness situation even after vaccination. This may be due to a variant, but it is certain. It’s hard to know, “she wrote.
Sherman said the city would not mandate vaccinations or check evidence of vaccination. She said five COVID-19-positive cases were identified on Tuesday from a group of employees who work closely together on a daily basis.
“As of (Wednesday), Palm Bay Fire Rescue has reinstated the response protocol to include wearing an N95 mask on all emergency response calls,” Hoog said in a statement to FLORIDA TODAY on Wednesday afternoon. I mentioned in.
“This measure not only protects staff, but also helps ensure patient safety,” says Hoog. “We take this situation seriously and encourage our community to do the same.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brevard County Fire Rescue Team transported patients with COVID symptoms to local hospitals an average of 10 to 15 times daily.
BCFR Chief Mark Schollmeyer said transportation is now returning to an average of 10 daily and hospital emergency rooms in the area are crowded with COVID patients.
“We are experiencing an increase in COVID-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations,” said Andy Romine, president of the Rockledge Community Medical Center. “More than 98% of COVID patients admitted this year were unvaccinated individuals.”
At the Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, COVID-related emergency visits and hospitalizations are increasing as well.
“The pandemic isn’t over yet. We fully emphasize the importance of taking precautions and staying vigilant, and everyone is vaccinated,” said George Mikitarian, president and chief executive officer of Parish. I can’t encourage you to do that. “
Don Walker, communication director for the Brevard County government, called the increase in COVID cases a “worrisome trend.”
“We all need to do due diligence to reduce these numbers and prevent the rapid growth of COVID in the community,” Walker said. “The pandemic is clearly not over, because we are seeing a vicious resurgence that indicates that we have relaxed our vigilance too soon. If we are not vaccinated, we will protect ourselves. Therefore, it is highly recommended to vaccinate early. ”
The latest available data, edited by the US Department of Health and Human Services, shows that Florida is one of the worst ranked states in various COVID-19 measurements.
For example, in Washington DC and Puerto Rico, in addition to 50 states, Florida has become:
- 50 out of 52 new cases per 100,000 residents.
- 49th out of 52 COVID-19 test positive rates.
- 49 out of 52 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 per 100 beds.
- The number of COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 inhabitants is 44 out of 52.
Of the 67 counties in Florida, 52 were classified as having a “high community infection” of COVID-19, including Brevard.
At a press conference on Monday in Poinciana, Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis said COVID-19 was “a seasonal virus, a seasonal pattern that follows, especially in the Sun Belt,” and concerns about the data. Was disregarded. In Florida. ”
Locally, 1,443 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Brevard County during the week ending Friday. This is the latest number available from the Florida Department of Health. This is compared to 693 a week ago and 495 two weeks ago.
According to Dr. Nick Moradi, Medical Director of Critical Care and Respiratory Medicine at the Melbourne Community Medical Center at Steward Healthcare, the biggest problem is that not enough people are vaccinated.
For example, in Brevard County, 49% of the total population and 56% of the population over the age of 12 are vaccinated at least once. Both figures are below 51% of the state’s total population and 59% over the age of 12.
Medical experts say that “herd immunity” to reduce the spread of the virus can be achieved after 70% to 80% of the public has been vaccinated. Moradi said he hopes this number will reach “as close to 100% as possible.”
Moradi recognizes that some people are afraid of vaccines, partly because the introduction of vaccines is relatively quick. But he claims that “the benefits from the vaccine far outweigh the risks.”
According to him and other experts, vaccination is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Also, cultivating the growing concern of professionals is a belief among some that the pandemic is over — when not.
The introduction of the vaccine was thought to help the country reach “the gold jar at the end of the rainbow,” Moradi said. However, more people need to be vaccinated to reach their destination at the end of the pandemic.
“There’s still room to go,” Morady said.
Concerns about delta variants
Stalnaker said the epidemic of delta variants has created additional concerns.
“When we were dealing with the original strain, enough people were immunized, so even non-immunized people, it really dramatically reduced the spread,” he said. ..
“Currently, the delta variant is chasing everyone who is much more infectious and unimmunized, although everyone who is immunized is still protected,” he said.
Approximately 95% of HealthFirst’s current COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated, Stalnaker said. Of the 5% who are vaccinated but eventually admitted to the hospital, a significant proportion are older or have underlying medical conditions such as kidney disease or cancer, Stalnaker added.
In addition, Stalnaker said the latest group of COVID-19 patients tends to be younger than last year’s patients, including people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Other than that, more people are healthy and fewer have underlying comorbidities.
Hospitalizations in the midst of a surge in delta variants are approaching the peak of health-first coronaviruses, about 110 people per day. This happened after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day holiday season, before the vaccine became widely available, Stalnaker said.
He said health-first medical facilities are equipped to accommodate the delta coronavirus outbreak. But he said the pandemic was hitting health care workers.
“What we struggle with is, like almost every other system in the country, we have worn-out staff. It’s a people’s problem for us. It’s been going on for over a year.” Said Stalnaker.
“People are tired,” he said.
“COVID-19 never disappears easily, and we’ve long warned that everyone needs to play their part to completely defeat this pandemic,” says Stalnaker. “And, as expected, the Delta variant has now become the dominant stock across the United States and Florida over the next few months and may continue.”
Starnaker said a significant proportion of Space Coast residents were dissatisfied with the fact that they remained unvaccinated.
“The situation is very politicized, and there’s a lot of misinformation, especially on social media,” Starnaker said. “Antivacers have discovered a new cause here. It’s a new opportunity to push their false message, because God knows why. I don’t understand that either.”
‘Get vaccinated. Limit’
He said the residents of Brevard had the following message: Limit. “
“Our message is no longer clear. Vaccines are widely available and have proven to be safe and highly effective, including against delta mutants,” Stalnaker said. increase. “Vaccination does not guarantee 100% immunity, but it does provide almost 100% levels of protection against getting sick enough for hospitalization. We are a community health partner. We are working with us to fully vaccinate the community, which will bring us closer to mass immunization. “
DeSantis supports vaccination and states that vaccination significantly reduces the chances of serious illness and even death for people infected with COVID-19.
“The name of the game is to keep people away from the hospital,” said DeSantis, a state “senior” who first vaccinated people over the age of 65 to help save “thousands of lives.” Promoted the “first” strategy.
But DeSantis blamed those who were critical of those who chose not to be vaccinated on Monday.
“For those who may be skeptical of the vaccine, we must be careful about some messages,” said Desantis. “I disagree with some of these people, some of these unquoted experts who spoil them and say they are stupid. It’s a way to reach these people. No, OK. Now that you have skeptical people, understand that if you’re communicating, you don’t want to say anything that makes them go further. “
Maria Stahl, director of Brevard’s Florida Department of Health, said the vaccine would be readily available in Brevard County.
“Anyone over the age of 12 should be vaccinated,” she said.
According to Stahl, the COVID vaccine is well-supplied. Double-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or single-dose Johnson & Johnson, can be found in private clinics, emergency medical centers, pharmacies, grocery stores, and more.
The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also available on the FDOH-Brevard Health Clinic on the 2565 Judge Fran Jamieson Way on the VIERA TV.
Rick Neale is FLORIDA TODAY’s South Breveled Watch Dog Reporter.Please contact Neil at 321-242-3638 or firstname.lastname@example.org. twitter: @ RickNeale1
Dave Berman Florida Today.. Contact Berman at email@example.com. twitter: @bydaveberman..
If such a story is important to you, consider subscribing to FLORIDA TODAY. To subscribe: https://cm.floridatoday.com/specialoffer/
Brevered COVID-19 surge causes a wave of infections and concerns
Source link Brevered COVID-19 surge causes a wave of infections and concerns