Republican MP Vern Buchanan – who represents Florida’s 16th Congressional District, including Sarasota – announced his diagnosis in a statement Monday, saying he had been examined after experiencing « very mild » flu-like symptoms. He is now in quarantine at home, he said. « I’m looking forward to going back to work as soon as possible, » said Buchanan, who took office in 2007. « In the meantime, this should be a reminder that while the vaccines offer a very high level of protection, we have to stay vigilant in the fight against COVID-19. » Hospital admissions has increased nationwide as well as in Florida, including Sarasota and Manatee counties, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
The counties together reported 1,162 COVID-19 cases last week – or more than four times the 248 cases that there were totaled for the week ending June 18, the newspaper reported.
The Sarasota Memorial Hospital also reported 36 new virus hospital admissions on Monday, an increase from July 18 on July 9.
« The surge in hospital admissions shows the importance of vaccination, » the hospital’s president and CEO David Verinder emailed staff last week.
Verinder said that « almost all » of the new cases were i were patients who were not fully vaccinated, while he noted that some younger patients were diagnosed in their thirties.
« Unfortunately, the rate of vaccination across the state has decreased in recent weeks, while highly transmissible variants have become more prevalent , a decline in mask wearing in our community and hotter weather are pushing people to spend more time indoors, « wrote Verinder.
Verinder said the virus was » still very much with us « while taking advantage of poking The Republican governor of Florida, meanwhile, downplayed the rising numbers in the state as part of a « seasonal pattern » when he spoke at an independent event on Monday. Governor Ron DeSantis said the surge was expected in Florida as the weather warms. He has repeatedly vowed not to impose additional bans or mandates in connection with the ongoing fight against the virus.
About 54 percent of Florida residents over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated, Politico reported. But White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said last week that the Sunshine State is responsible for almost one in five new infections across the country. In total, the state had 46,000 new cases between July 9 and Thursday, almost twice as many as the previous week, Politico reported.
Buchanan’s announcement comes a day after two more Texas Democrats said they were positive for the virus has been tested, bringing the number of state lawmakers infected to five.
At least 71 U.S. officials or senators have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to Law Tracking Website GovTrack > Republican Ron Wright, 67, died of the coronavirus in February fighting cancer. Louisiana MP Luke Letlow, 41, also died of complications related to the virus in December, just days before he took office.
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