COVID-19 hospitalizations dramatically increasing

MILT THOMAS

COVID-19 has reared its ugly head again in Indian River County. This time it is targeting unvaccinated residents and vacationers. As of July 26, Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital has the most COVID hospitalizations since the pandemic began in March of last year – and nine out of ten patients are unvaccinated. As a result, the hospital is changing its visitation policy from Level Orange to Level Red.

Nationally, COVID cases requiring hospitalization are also increasing dramatically, again primarily due to the unvaccinated population. Florida has by far the most new COVID cases, 20 percent of the national total.

The state of Florida has not helped stem this resurgence of the coronavirus. The largest states routinely report new cases, hospitalizations and deaths on a daily basis, but Florida submits this critical data on a weekly basis. There is also a discrepancy in reporting vaccination data on a county-by-county basis. According to the Florida Department of Health, as of Friday, 66 percent of the Indian River County population over 12 years old is fully vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 56.9 percent of Indian River County residents are vaccinated. The more optimistic FDOH numbers are higher for every county in the state.

For those who have either postponed or refuse the vaccine, now is the time to act. For a list of county vaccination sites, click here.

According to the Indian River County Health Department Public Information Officer, Stacy Brock, “If you are working and do not have time to come here for the vaccine, we will come to your place of business. The increase in new cases is highest in the 40-69 age group.”

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