COVID here is at post-pandemic low

Cleveland Clinic Vero Beach

New COVID-19 infections here were near their lowest point since the start of the pandemic last week, but outbreaks of influenza increased.

Grade-school and college spring break visitors might be behind the elevated instance of late-season influenza, as a rash of harsh winter weather up north and in California drove travelers to Vero’s beaches.

Flu season peaked around Thanksgiving, with Influenza A H3 being the predominant flu strain so far this year, and the 2009 strain Influenza A H1N1 still circulating and causing nearly 40 percent of flu infections this winter. Influenza B has been almost nonexistent since the start of the 2020 pandemic.

On the Covid front, only 60 people tested positive here last week at a lab or medical office that sends data to the Florida Department of Health. That number does not include people who used an at-home test kit to find out whether or not they’d been infected with Covid.

Countywide the test positivity rate listed on the bi-weekly state report was 8.8 percent.

Public health officials, early on in the pandemic, told communities that the goal was to keep the positivity rate for each community lower than 10 percent.

As of Monday press time, 64 Florida counties were in the green Low Covid Community Level zone, with only the Tampa Bay area in the yellow or medium category.

Still, 162 people were hospitalized in Florida due to Covid illness, and 56 people died last week from complications of COVID-19 disease – meaning it’s extremely important to prevent having to go to the hospital emergency department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported six people admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 illness last week, with Covid-positive patients using about 2 percent of the staffed hospital beds.

Cleveland Clinic spokesperson Erin Miller said Monday “Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital has six Covid-positive patients in-house, one of whom is in the ICU.”

The Paxlovid drug many have been taking to head off the worst symptoms is being considered for a full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, as it was approved during the pandemic for emergency use only to replace the four-injection Regeneron regimen.

Paxlovid is a combination of two drugs taken in pill form. They work together against the virus.

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