Lee Health says that low vaccination rates and even lower rates of getting a booster are why COVID-19 is continuing to spread and patients are still filling its hospitals. They say not enough people in Lee County are rolling up their sleeves.
According to Lee Health, only 64% of people who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine have been fully vaccinated. And, for the booster dose, only 24.7% of those eligible have received it.
Dr. Mary Beth Saunders is the medical director for infection prevention and epidemiology at Lee Health. “We do know now with a couple of years of experience that people who are vaccinated do fare better when they get actual disease, and there’s fewer hospitalizations, and we’re seeing fewer complications,” said Dr. Saunders.
According to Saunders, that’s why the hospital system is warning everyone, once again, about the possible consequences if people don’t get vaccinated ad don’t receive their booster shots.
“One of the things we are starting to take note of are the late complications and COVID people who may be developing diabetes or develop some problem with blood clots,” said Dr. Saunders.
If you couple this surge with the fact that we’re in season, it makes sense that Lee Health’s hospitals are packed. So, if you’re heading to the emergency room for something less than life-threatening, be prepared to wait.
“Visitors may have increased wait times when we have so many people in the hospital and trying to be attended to at one point. But at all our campuses and Lee health, the Incident Command teams, they have alternative plans on how to deal with the extra folks that are coming into our health system at this time,” Dr. Saunders said.
Saunder says the best thing we can do is to get vaccinated and get a booster, in addition to getting a flu shot. That’s what will keep people out of the hospital.