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St. Lucie County resumes weekly COVID-19 updates due to surge in cases

'If you get sick, there’s no guarantee a bed will be available'
Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 18:26:44-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — The St. Lucie County Health Department Administrator and County Administrator held their first COVID update in more than 4 months, citing renewed concerns in the rate of transmission throughout the county.

At the county’s last update in April, the peak of new cases in one day was around 100. Right now, county leaders say there have been days with more than 300 new cases.

County leaders say they were concerned last year when there was a positivity rate of more than 10%. Now, the rate is, at times, closer to 25%.

Weekly updates will continue until the transmission rate declines.

Health Department Administrator Clint Sperber said the first person to reach full vaccination status in St. Lucie County was on January 18, 2021.

Between then and August 16, 2021, 19,302 new cases have been confirmed and a total of 694 breakthrough cases, making up 3.6% of new cases.

“That tells me the vaccine is very effective,” Sperber said. “In a highly vaccinated population, the delta variant would not be as able to infect as it is right now.”

COVID vaccination levels low in children and young adults, Sperber said.

Rob Lord, President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic Martin Health, left comments, read by Sperber, saying the local health system has never been more stretched than it is now.

Hospital beds are near capacity and staffing those beds is difficult.

“If you get sick, there’s no guarantee a bed will be available,” Sperber read.

“The COVID patients dying today are otherwise younger and healthier than in earlier surges. They are dying in higher numbers than before and well over 95% of those dying are unvaccinated,” Speber read.

Sperber said the county is finalizing details to open a county-wide testing location at 3855 US 1 in Fort Pierce.

They hope to have it running next week, 7 days a week, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Call volume also increased dramatically so they have partnered with public safety to open county-wide call line.

The number for the hotline is 772-446-8480, operated Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.