I hope this finds you well. Coronavirus cases continue to increase and there are 74 persons hospitalized at NCH with COVID and we have treated 1,555 people in the hospital successfully since the beginning of the pandemic. NCH has completed over 46 thousand tests. The incidence of infection seems to be slowing slightly.
As we go through the winter season, the main thing that you can do is to try and avoid prolonged time in close proximity indoors with others, especially if no masks are being worn. Remember, this virus is transmitted primarily in an airborne fashion from person to person and adjust behavior accordingly. The FDA has also approved a rapid test kit that can be used at home and will be available in January. This will help tremendously as each kit will cost about $35.
Vaccines: Vaccination started on 12/14/20 and has been progressing well. The Moderna vaccine is going before the FDA’s advisory panel today for expected approval. General Perna, in charge of the distribution phase of Operation Warp Speed indicates 6 million doses will be delivered shortly after approval. We can hopefully expect 1.1 million doses in Florida next week, many of those should be coming to our area. Governor DeSantis has designated nursing home residents and health care providers as the first line for the vaccine. It is anticipated that the vaccine will come to the hospitals, pharmacies and the health departments for distribution initially. Let us not lose sight of the fact that these vaccines have been developed with unprecedented rapidity and are both effective and safe.
The AP (12/8, Neergaard, Perrone) reports that “FDA scientists reanalyzed data from Pfizer’s huge, still-unfinished study and found that so far, the vaccine appears safe and more than 90% effective across patients of different ages, races and underlying health conditions.” Furthermore, “The FDA specifically confirmed it works well in older people, who are especially vulnerable to the virus.”
Testing sites in Collier County include: Advanced Medical Center (566-7676), Vava Clinic (331-8520), the health department (252-8200), EPN urgent care (775-2300), CVS (261-6444 and 775-5450), the VA Clinic (659-9188) and Pebblebrook Pharmacy 353-0800.
Below is the link to the updated NCH COVID information page:
Wishing each and every one of you a safe and healthy holiday!
Paul Jones MD