Race to inoculate long-term care facilities faces challenges as Florida surpasses 27,000 COVID-19 deaths

State positivity rate is 8.39%

Registered Pharmacist Ken Ramey, left, prepares to inoculate Deanna Sutton, 83, with the COVID-19 vaccine, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at the Isles of Vero Beach assisted and independent senior living community in Vero Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – More than 3.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been given in long-term care facilities across the U.S. as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s about one-third of the roughly 10 million vaccines Harvard Medical School health policy professor David Grabowski estimates will be needed to fully protect residents and employees.

CVS and Walgreens have started a massive vaccination push in nearly all states, and they say they are proceeding on schedule. But resident advocates and experts are anxious about delays in delivering vaccines that have been available for more than a month.

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“Every week that you wait and you’re not vaccinating is a big deal here,” Grabowski told the Associated Press. “My sense is that this process is still going too slow.”

The drugstore chains have faced several challenges. At some locations, a high percentage of staff have declined the shots on the initial visits. The companies also had to set up thousands of clinics and reschedule some at locations where COVID-19 outbreaks developed.

CVS and Walgreens say states determined when they could start giving shots at assisted-living facilities, and they have finished first-dose clinics when they were allowed to begin in December. But other states didn’t allow them to start until mid-January. They also say they are pouring thousands of employees into the effort.

Florida brought in an outside company to help deliver vaccines if the drugstore chains weren’t able to schedule a first clinic until late January.

Innovation Senior Living CEO Pilar Carvajal said the company called one of her homes that hadn’t had a clinic date set yet and showed up the next day to start delivering shots.

She said vaccinations should be complete at her six Florida assisted-living facilities by the end of March. Then she can stop worrying about employees bringing the virus to work after doing something as simple as going out to eat.

“That is the one thing we cannot control,” she said. “The sooner we can get vaccinated, obviously the safer we will be.”

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 7,000 new COVID-19 cases with 5.54% positivity rate]

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Feb. 1

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 5,624 new cases on Monday bringing the state’s overall total to 1,727,107 cases since the coronavirus pandemic began in March.

Deaths

Florida reported 214 new virus-related deaths Monday, raising the death toll to 27,129. This number includes the 444 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Monday afternoon, there were currently 6,142 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since March, 72,454 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 160 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Monday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 8.39% on Sunday for the 67,049 tests reported to the state. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.

Vaccinations

The Florida Department of Health recently began releasing a daily report on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.

As of Monday afternoon, 1,993,472 people have been vaccinated in Florida. The FDOH also reports that 314,528 people have received their second shot.

See COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region below:

CountyCasesNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard29,5181731,78736551
Flagler5,312183002700
Lake21,864401,131043510
Marion24,577671,536160113
Orange103,6493122,205195818
Osceola33,7221141,19713817
Polk50,7022283,83859670
Seminole24,227741,03913785
Sumter7,1191543801860
Volusia31,1251641,51825350

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