Cautious optimism: Flagler’s COVID cases tend to drop

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The Flagler County Florida Department of Health has resources for COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

The latest data

Flagler County’s COVID cases are trending down, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and the New York Times. Flagler peaked on a pandemic on August 31, when the new daily case count climbed to 134. Prior to the start of the Delta variant, Flagler’s highest day total had been 66.

The mildest time during the pandemic for Flagler County was June this year, when new cases each day were in single digits. The combination of then-steadily increasing vaccination rates and the less contagious original COVID-19 strain rendered the pandemic nearly helpless locally for some time. However, as the highly contagious Delta variants took hold in July and August, Flagler was suddenly hit harder than he had been at any time until then.

Read more: The fate of commercial vehicles will be decided on September 21 at Palm Coast Town Hall

The new cases in recent weeks are largely due to infections originating in Flagler’s public schools. As of the end of last school week, Flagler Schools reported 1,135 infections among students and teachers. This was an increase from the previous week’s total of 1,048, but not as sharp as has been documented in other week-to-week intervals.

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72,646 Flagler County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 63,340 reported as fully immunized according to the CDC. As a percentage, 63.1% have at least one dose and 55.0% are fully vaccinated. The rate at which residents are newly vaccinated is stagnating, with only 445 new doses administered last week. The continued decline in immunization rates is attributable to reluctance to immunize, whether due to valid health issues, apathy, or outright misinformation.

New York Times

Flagler (and the world) at a glance

On an alert level of Low-Moderate-Substantial-High, the 67 counties of the state of Florida are designated High by the CDC. The same goes for Georgia and Alabama, Florida’s two neighbors to the north.

Flagler now has an average of 58 cases per day, down almost 50% from two weeks ago. At AdventHealth Palm Coast, the largest hospital in Flagler County, 53 patients are admitted with COVID-19, and the ICU has a 73% capacity. Six intensive care beds are available according to the most recent reports, whether for COVID-19 or any other variety of other crises. Using the mask indoors is still recommended for both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people, as transmission of COVID-19 is possible for people of any vaccination status. Revolutionary cases are also a factor in the current state of the virus, although deaths in these cases are extremely rare.

TalkFlagler weekly update with Danielle Anderson

Unvaccinated individuals are eleven times more likely to die from Delta variant infection than vaccinated individuals. The unvaccinated are ten times more likely to be hospitalized and five times more likely to be infected. In data from Johns Hopkins University, the overall lethal infection rate for the entire COVID-19 pandemic is 1.7%. Death rates are increased by comorbidities such as obesity, old age and not being vaccinated.

A study published in August by The Lancet Infectious Diseases who looked at 40,000 cases in England concluded that the unvaccinated are twice as likely to be hospitalized with the Delta variant. The Flagler County Department of Health is currently prioritizing testing for students and teachers at Flagler Schools, where appropriate.

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Vaccinations for children?

The Associated Press reported on Monday that Pfizer is seeking approval in the United States to administer its COVID vaccine to children aged 5 to 11, where the old low age cutoff was 12. “I think we’ve really hit the sweet spot”, Pfizer senior vice president Dr Bill Gruber said. The Food & Drug Administration, which is primarily responsible for issuing distribution approvals to vaccine makers, said this month it hopes to have an assessment done in a few weeks. If this passes, a generalized increase in vaccination rates could be observed, as the injections are given to children who were not previously allowed to receive them.

Dr Jesse Goodman, professor at Georgetown University and former chief of the FDA, says of Pfizer’s progress: “These first results are very good news. ” He characterized the level of immune response in the vaccine as “appear[ing] likely to be protective ” for children aged 5 to 11.

Knock at home

Several icons of the local community have had encounters with COVID-19 or since the start of the pandemic. County Commissioner Joe Mullins recently shared his experience with a positive test for the second time. Palm Coast City Council member Victor Barbosa was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in July after his case resulted in a pneumonia attack, and fellow city councilor Ed Danko recently attended a meeting virtually since his 40s, although he maintained that he did not contract the virus himself.

Read more: Due to COVID spike, Flagler Beach Police Department to host annual chest or treat as a drive-thru

Among those who died from their COVID battles: then-FPCHS principal James T. Russell, and former Palm Coast mayor and city councilor Jon Netts. Flagler’s sheriff’s office recently lost detention deputy Paul Luciano to the virus. In senior government, Flagler’s Congressional Representative Michael Waltz tested positive for COVID in November 202o.

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