There have been many a worst week since the coronavirus pandemic began in the winter of 2020. In Flagler County, last week was the worst yet as the tally of residents who died from the disease set another record, with nine deaths this weekend alone, and the tally of new infections also set a weekly record, at 731 confirmed. As of Sunday, there were 97 people hospitalized with covid at AdventHealth Palm Coast, a hospital normally licensed for 132 beds.
When last reported on Aug. 19, the total number of covid deaths among Flagler residents had reached 140. In the four days since, the total grew to 154, according to the Flagler County Health Department. On Friday, the state Department of Health, which is now reporting tallies only once a week, reported 1,486 deaths statewide for the week, by far the highest tally since the pandemic began, and almost 500 deaths more than the previous week, which had also been a Florida record. On average, 212 Florians a day are dying of the disease. The state’s total is now 42,252. If Florida were its own country, it would have the 20th highest death total among the world’s 222 nations, well ahead of many far more populous nations.
In Flagler, the oldest person to die of the disease in August was 93, the youngest was 45. Once those outliers in age are taken out of the calculation, the remaining people who died have been in their 50s–a far lower average than in previous waves of the pandemic. The numbers underscore to what extent this has been the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” While there have been–and continue to be–breakthrough infections (meaning infections of those vaccinated) the overwhelming majority of those hospitalized were not vaccinated or had not completed their vaccine cycle.
In the school district, there were 199 confirmed cases of students with covid and 10 staffers in the week between last Monday and today, including 78 confirmed cases among students between Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Each of these students is required to quarantine, as are the close contacts around each students, so the quarantine number is significantly higher. One private school in the county had to shut down for a few days because too many staffers tested positive to enable the school to keep functioning.
“We’re just seeing the progression of the disease just skyrocket in our community and you know,” Bob Snyder, director of the Flagler Health Department, said late this afternoon, “the the anti folks feel like we’re being dramatic. We’re exaggerating. We’re making too much of a big deal about it. Well, Sorry folks. All you’ve got to do is watch TV, I guess, and look at the data. The number of patients in the hospital. Nine deaths over the weekend.” And take into account what most people don’t see: the unrelenting workloads at the hospital and at the Health Department. “You know the hospital staff, wonderful, wonderful people, and my staff, they’re all angels, man,” Snyder said.
There was a silver lining in the AdventHealth hospital network in central Florida, detected last Friday: “The growth in Covid-19 admissions appears to be slowing. However, the volume within our ICUs continues to rise,” Neil J. Finkler, AdventHealth Central Florida Division’s Chief Clinical Officer told physicians in a message at the end of the week. The network has been at “black status” for weeks, meaning that only emergency surgical procedures are being performed so hospital staff can focus on covid cases.
“The decision to remain in black status is being carefully weighed against the clear feedback from many in the medical community that there are a growing number of patients who need access to surgical and procedural interventions,” Finkler wrote. “We know it is important for clinical outcomes to begin reopening surgical and procedural sites in a limited capacity to address our non-Covid, outpatient needs and the growing backlog of cases. A multidisciplinary provider workgroup has begun developing a plan to resume some of these procedures in a phased approach. The full process is anticipated to be announced via email early next week and some procedures could resume by the end of next week.” (In other words, the end of this week, since Finkler’s message was issued on Friday.)
Vaccinations are again on the decline in Flagler. The number of people getting vaccinated had been falling throughout June, when weekly vaccinations fell below 400 and the county still had not reached the 50 percent threshold of fully vaccinated people. Vaccination numbers rose rapidly as infections spiked in mid to late July, rising to almost 1,400 the week ending Aug. 6. But weekly totals have again fallen since–to 1,236 two weeks ago and to 864 last week.
“Very disappointed in that,” Snyder said. “However, we are there for the public, and especially since the FDA just approved Pfizer for vaccines for folks over 16 and the booster, we expect more volume soon for it.” (The local health department is continue to hire additional case investigators and contact tracers as well as nurses and support staff.)
Contact tracers are having difficulties keeping up with the volume of confirmed cases. “Because the volume has exploded with respect to the infections,” Snyder said, “we have to prioritize, as do all county health departments. We’ve been given guidance by the State Department of Health that we need to focus on congregate settings where people are together, such as schools, jails and prisons, and certainly long term care facilities of all kinds.” (There are 72 nursing homes, long-term care facilities and group homes in Flagler.) “Following that, of course, patients who have been previously hospitalized, patients who are immunocompromised.”
The county health department–a state agency–shifted testing and vaccine operations to Cattleman’s Hall at the county fairgrounds starting today. The operation drew 174 vehicles. Some 200 people were tested, 56 of them testing positive.
In the earliest days big, heartfelt recognitions of health care workers were common. They’re less common now. But the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach, in coordination with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and AdventHealth Palm Coast, announced today it was organizing a “Community and Sheriff’s Office drive-by” to recognize “healthcare heroes and show how much they are appreciated,” a Rotary release stated. The procession parade will be held at two separate times on Friday: Noon and 8 p.m. on the grounds of AdventHealth Palm Coast.
The community is encouraged to attend and bring and wave signs of support from their vehicles. Participants are asked to enter the main entrance of the hospital at 60 Memorial Medical Parkway, turn right and drive in a circle around the hospital, past the Stuart F. Meyer Hospice House around the back. Healthcare workers will be watching and waving from windows. Sheriff’s deputies will join the procession, emergency lights flashing.
“We are exceptionally proud of our Flagler County healthcare workers,” said President of the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach, Alicia Vincent. “Our front line workers have had an unwavering dedication to care for our community members and this type of event is essential in keeping their morale and spirits up,” Alicia added.
G A says
Sadly the ones that really need to read this article and pay attention, won’t. They won’t care until it is them in the hospital bed, begging staff to give them the vaccine…too late. Not a fantasy..that little scene plays out over and over again every day in every hospital. . People who get Covid tell others they wouldn’t wish this on their worst enemy. Yet, the ones that really need to hear this don’t care what is being said or who is saying it; that is until it’s too late. I would feel sorry for them except for their selfish behavior that infects others in their hurry for their date with a casket.
Karen Curry says
WOW! 9 over the weekend-is it getting REAL for you yet?
So very sad. Way worse than before. God is mad at the world, and especially America. When will this ever end?
Remain Unvaccinated and your insurance may not cover your Covid hospital stay, or your premiums may increase significantly . . . especially now that a free vaccine (Pfizer) has met full FDA approval. . . take a good read:
In 2020, before there were Covid-19 vaccines, most major private insurers waived patient payments — from coinsurance to deductibles — for Covid treatment. But many, if not most, have allowed that policy to lapse. Aetna, for example, ended that policy on Feb. 28; UnitedHealthcare began rolling back its waivers late last year and discontinued them by the end of March.
More than 97 percent of hospitalized patients last month were unvaccinated. Though the vaccines will not necessarily prevent you from catching the coronavirus, they are highly effective at ensuring you will have a milder case and are kept out of the hospital.
For this reason, there’s logic behind insurers’ waiver rollback: Why should patients be kept financially unharmed from what is now a preventable hospitalization, thanks to a vaccine that the government paid for and made available for free? It is now in many drugstores, popping up at highway rest stops and bus stops and can be delivered and administered at home in parts of the country.
A harsher society might impose tough penalties on people who refuse vaccinations and contract the virus. Recently, the National Football League decreed that teams will forfeit a game canceled because of a Covid-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players — and neither team’s players will be paid.
But insurers could try to do more, like penalizing the unvaccinated. And there is precedent. Already, some policies won’t cover treatment that results from what insurance companies deem risky behavior, such as scuba diving and rock climbing.
The Affordable Care Act allows insurers to charge smokers up to 50 percent more than what nonsmokers pay for some types of health plans. Four-fifths of states follow that protocol, though most employer-based plans do not do so. In 49 states, people who are caught driving without auto insurance face fines, confiscation of their car, loss of their license and even jail. And reckless drivers pay more for insurance.
The logic behind the policies is that the offenders’ behavior can hurt others and costs society a lot of money. If people decide not to get vaccinated and contract bad cases of Covid, they are not only exposing others in their workplace or neighborhoods; the tens or hundreds of thousands spent on their care could mean higher premiums for others as well in their insurance plans next year. What’s more, outbreaks in low-vaccination regions could help breed more vaccine-resistant variants that affect everyone.
I agree but its unclear about any sort of penalty. ” But insurers could try to do more, like penalizing the unvaccinated”.
If the person is unvaccinated and their insurance premium is paid in full, and the person gets something other than covid, the insurance company needs to honor that medical care. What’s more if that same person has a paid in full insurance premium its going to be difficult for an insurance company to not honor that coivd treatment. Maybe higher premiums are in order like smoking as you note.
Stay home! Shut down schools and non essential buissness, get vaccinated, wear a mask, and social distance. We could have avoided this like many other states , sadly our leaders put us in this posistion.
Just wish someone would send DeathSantis this report, oh well I forgot he doesn’t care. All he cares about is running for President and who will donate to him. How silly of me to think Florida has a Governor that cares about its people.
trailer bob says
We have the ability to get vaccinated…for FREE. I have never lived in a state that had so many low IQ residents.
Morgan Monaco says
My lord AMEN on that one….but still folks don’t get it….that prove one thing Americans don’thave that much brain.
Sad to say Bob, its not just this state its all states. People do not trust the Govt and just don’t trusts the science.
Karen Curry says
Mark101, the virus is in all states, the anti-maskers & anti-vaxers have made the issue in RED REPUBLICAN TRUMPER states much worse than it had to be from the very beginning. Guess those blue state governors & the people that voted for them have reason to trust government and scientists, it’s those states that don’t that are really in the shit now. The entire country isn’t infested with blithering Covidiots.
Sadly, those who succumbed to Covid-19 were probably trump followers and fake fox news fans.
There’s no other explanation.
Karen Curry says
It’s a win-win, the Covidiots are beyond reaching, it’s become a natural culling of the herd. A good lesson in being held accountable for your actions. Aren’t they all about accountability?
Your information is wrong. There was a 22-year-old, a 34-year old, and a 36-year-old who died.
Thank you, Rotary Club for saluting healthcare workers. Their morale is likely taking a nosedive right now, being called upon yet again to save the lives of COVID victims. This current COVID dance did not have to happen because SCIENCE created a miracle…the vaccine that fights this thing! Nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists are in my heart right now. I’m only a pharmacy technician, but the the toll COVID has taken on me, my mental and physical health, is measurable. I want out of pharmacy. I wonder how many nurses want out after experiencing, reliving this epic pandemic?! Dr. Fauci says we might get a handle on this thing by spring…of 2022. I am vaccinated and becoming intolerant of those who can get the vaccine, but choose not. Honeybuns, it ain’t just your life at risk. It’s coming for your kids!!! Wise up, grow up, and wake up!!! This is THE public health crisis of our time.
Here is a link to an anonymous survey from the FL Dept. of Health. . . with questions about vaccines and gun violence. If you would like to participate the survey ends very soon. . . Aug. 31st.
Higher Insurance Premiums for the Unvaccinated. . . rightly so. . . and, so it begins:
Delta (DAL) CEO Ed Bastian made the announcement in a company-wide memo, which the company shared with CNN. The airline says may of its employees are already vaccinated, but it has room for improvement.
“While we can be proud of our 75% vaccination rate, the aggressiveness of the variant means we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100% as possible,” said Bastian.
Delta says starting September 12, any US employee who is not fully vaccinated will be required to take a weekly coronavirus test “while community case rates are high.” The airline says those with a positive result will need to isolate and remain out of the workplace.
Beginning November 1, all unvaccinated Delta employees “enrolled in Delta’s account-based health care plan will be subject to a $200 monthly surcharge.”
“The average hospital stay for Covid-19 has cost Delta $40,000 per person,” said the airline.
For those of you who think that only fat, out of shape people end up in the hospital or I don’t need to get vaccinated even after having Covid. . . take a long look at this video of a fitness trainer who is lucky to be alive:
J. Michael Kelley says
All Insurance Policies are a contract, and the wording of that contract is all that matters. No arbitrary desires apply.
As a gal who worked as a medical underwriter for Prudential for 11 years, I can point out that insurance contracts are “revised” all the time. . . when your policy comes up for renewal. Never fear, the actuaries are working on ways to lower the insurance companies losses as I write this. Delta and Disney have already imposed a financial penalty on those who continue to refuse to be vaccinated. . . and rightly so!