New COVID-19 infections more than doubled this past week from the prior week, and local hospitalizations were also up sharply as public health officials pondered the potential benefits of yet another vaccine booster shot for senior citizens and those with compromised immune systems.
Indian River County reported 160 new cases for the week ending March 22, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid Data Tracker – up from the 60 cases reported by the Florida Department of Health for week ending March 16. The county remains in the CDC’s Low Covid Community Level category because only 2.5 percent of staffed hospital beds are occupied by Covid-infected patients.
Seven people were admitted to the hospital last week for complications of COViD-19 illness, according to CDC data, and as of Monday, current hospitalizations had nearly doubled from the previous week’s count of six hospitalized, including one in the ICU.
“Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital has 11 total COVID-positive patients in-house this morning, three of which are in critical care,” hospital spokesperson Erin Miller said.
Health officials were hoping the spike in cases and hospitalizations is temporary due to local residents traveling and hosting houseguests over spring break, and not the beginning of a surge.
It’s been seven months since the latest booster shot was approved and recommended (the fifth shot in total for adults who received a two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine regimen), so for those lacking robust immune systems, vaccine protection is likely waning.