Director Robin Napier and Director of Nursing Danielle Taylor and of the Hernando County Health Department updated the commissioners at the regular meeting today (August 10, 2021) on the current state of positive COVID-19 cases with respect to the recent rise in cases, and the addition the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus.
Napier said that the department will soon issue a media release with information about the opening of additional testing at the Hernando County Fairgrounds. The site is expected to be open for testing Thursday, Aug 12, 2021.
Napier reported that a rise in positive cases was first seen in June. In July, approximately 2200 positive cases were reported, and there are currently 1520 since August 1. Napier states this is an increase of approximately 190 cases per day. County Administrator Jeff Rogers reported that there are approximately 180 people hospitalized as of Aug 9, 2021.
Taylor reported that vaccinated individuals are still able to be infected, however their illness is not as severe as those unvaccinated. Napier added, “The majority of people in the hospitals are unvaccinated. The majority of people that are getting sick or very ill are unvaccinated.”
“Breakthrough cases” is the term that defines those infected who have also received a full vaccine course. As of this writing, there have been 267 breakthrough cases since June 1. 19 deaths have been reported since June 1.
The age ranges for positive cases are varied and fluid. Napier reports the highest incidence recently has been in the 25-34 age group, followed by ages 45-64, with the 15-34 age group in third place. “The ranges are all over the board,” adding that each week, the age group with the most number of cases changes.
Napier reported that the county has seen roughly 40 variant cases since June 1.
However the data available regarding the number of COVID-positive people infected with the Delta variant is limited. Taylor explained that the most thorough test, called the “PCR” test is sent to state labs, however, it is unknown how many samples are tested for the Delta variant, or any others. Napier reports that there are currently approximately 13 variants of the original novel coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019.
The Health Department will be issuing a media release shortly regarding the opening of additional testing at the Hernando County Fairgrounds. The addition of the Fairgrounds as a testing site is a response to the increased response to testing. “Our latest positivity rate is about 33%,” she said. This means that roughly 1/3rd of people tested are positive.
Regarding the data, Napier said, “There are a lot of different timeframes on the data, there’s a lot of different things coming in so fast, so just be careful when looking at those numbers.” Napier and other agencies receive data that may not come in on a regular basis, or it is discovered that an individual county’s data may not be accurate and subsequently is adjusted.
The Health Department has reinstituted their contact tracing, and have included weekend hours.
Napier added that Bayfront Health ran out of ventilators over the weekend. Because of the Health Department’s access to additional resources, the agency was able to assist the facilities in obtaining additional ventilators.