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Florida reported deaths up 28% from COVID-19 in past week

May 3, 2020
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Florida Department of Health reported on there have been 1,379 deaths attributed to the coronavirus known as COVID-19 statwide since March, as of Sunday.

That is an increase of 28 percent from those reported statewide seven days ago when there were 1,074 deaths related to the coronavirus statewide.

There have been 36,078 confirmed COVID-19 positives in Florida, out of 428,744 tested. That is a rate of 8% positives among those tested.

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In Lee County, there have been 42 coronavirus deaths reported in the past week, an increase of five. The last reported death in Lee County was a 78-year-old male on Saturdya.

Lee County has surpassed Duval County with the sixth-most COVID-19 cases in the state, with 1,118.

The number of COVID-19 cases on Fort Myers Beach has crept up to nine.

The number of coronvirus positives has fluctuated day-to-day. The state hit a high mark of 1,213 positive COVID-19 cases reported April 23. The lowest total since April 19 was on April 28 when 346 cases were reported. That figure rose on April 30 to 995 confirmed positives and has since dropped steadily, with 648 cases reported Saturday. On April 28, a 96-year-old female died.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has noted that there is a lag time in counting deaths related to COVID-19. For example, while there have been five new deaths reported in Lee County since April 26, only two occurred earlier than April 24 when only 32 cases were reported. In other words, since April 24, there have been 10 deaths in Lee County recorded that were coronavirus-related though only two people have actually been reported as dying during that span.

While the number of confirmed positive cases is distributed relatively evenly among those between the ages of 25 and 74, 83% of deaths are clustered among those 65 and over. Of the 1,379 deaths in Florida, 93% are among those 55 and older. While those 85 and older make up 5% of the positive cases, they make up 30% of the coronavirus-related deaths.

Meanwhile, Lee Health will begin conducting elective surgeries again on Monday as a result of an emergency order by DeSantis to allow elective surgeries. There are currently 87 COVID-19 cases at Lee Health hospitals. Lee Health has 163 patients isolated at home and 24 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Lee Health CEO Larry Antonucci said the hospital will limit elective surgeries to 20-25% of normal volume diromg the next few weeks.

"This is necessary to ensure that we continue to have the appropriate amount of personal protective equipment to keep patients and employees safe and to maintain adequate bed capacity to care for our entire community," Antonucci said.

"Every patient will be screened for symptoms of respiratory illness upon entering, and all patients and staff are required to wear protective face covering. We are rearranging waiting room seating so that all chairs are a safe distance from each other, and COVID-19 patients continue to be separated from all others," he said. "Elective surgeries are often necessary procedures, like knee and hip replacements, that improve the patient's overall mobility and quality of life. We look forward to helping patients who have endured an additional two months of knee, hip, shoulder and back discomfort as these surgical restrictions were in place."



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