As covid infections from the Omicron-21 variant continue to rise in Flagler County, with significant outbreaks at four nursing homes, Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration were issuing conflicting statements about ordering vaccines for children under 5. DeSantis and his administration aggressively derided the option on Thursday, then backtracked somewhat on Friday.
Flagler County Health Department
Thus far, the number of cases identified in 2022 surpasses the 5-year average of meningococcal disease cases in Florida. Department of Health epidemiologists are investigating each case as well as contacting people with potential or direct exposure to known cases to provide them with information and treatment options.
The 28 positive cases for the week ending today–an average of four a day–is the lowest weekly total since the week of June 20, 2020, and the four-week stretch of cases has also been the lowest since then. Combined with vaccinations and previous infections, the county may be in strong shape even if another variant were to pierce through, the health department director says.
Beverly Beach, which brands itself a “small town with a good heart,” donated $10,000, or 5 percent of its American Rescue Plan allocation, to the Flagler Health Department, with Bob Snyder at the commission meeting to accept the donation Monday evening. The money will be spent on diabetes and other public health initiatives.
Infection numbers are surging across Florida, but in a 50-minute news conference this morning, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo not only projected a business-as-usual approach, but said testing protocols will be revised toward less testing, with testing and treatment focused on higher-risk patients, while schools are to remain open and operating under previously relaxed guidelines that de-emphasize quarantines, masking and distancing.
The FDA authorization comes after months of pediatric clinical trial investigation involving about 4,500 children ages 5 to 11. Pfizer released new data on Oct. 22, 2021, stating that its vaccine is almost 91% effective at preventing COVID-19 in that age group, with similar tolerability and antibody responses to that seen in older age groups.
Dr. Stephen Bickel, medical director of the Florida Department of Health in Flagler County (DOH-Flagler) recently renewed his “HIV Specialist” credentials by passing an exam sponsored by the American Academy of HIV Medicine. Dr. Bickel received his initial HIV specialist designation in 2018.
Makenna’s story illustrates the pernicious tenacity of a disease that upends, separates and traumatizes families, cuts off income, creates unspeakable loneliness even for those not hospitalized, and leaves its casualties fuming at a community’s refusal to embrace–beyond thoughts and prayers–the small, effortless measures that could prevent much of the harm to most.
Flagler County recorded just over 200 covid cases in the week ending today, the lowest total since early summer, but vaccinations have plummeted to a new low since after the initial rollouts. While school cases have also dropped, the Flagler school district is struggling through significant teacher and other staffing shortages.
The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County has received reports of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in two childcare centers in the community. The Health Department is not disclosing the names of the two child care centers, nor it clear for now whether they are large centers or home-based centers with a limited number of children.