COVID 19 IN FLORIDA
In the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic started off with just a couple of cases in a few states. No one could have expected to see the rise in numbers being seen today. In the entire state of Florida, the peak number of positive cases in just a single day has reached 15,000. Some counties are struggling to manage this tremendous growth in positive cases more than others. For Hillsborough county, managing those ill with COVID-19 has been difficult. By Tuesday, July 14th, the county reached nearly 20,000 total cases and 191 deaths from coronavirus. In the past fourteen days, there was an average of 16.16% positive cases reported. The increase in the number of positive cases has been attributed to many factors, but primarily the continued lack of mask usage and lack of social distancing.
In order to contain the virus, we as individuals need to play our part and listen to guidelines set by both the government and by the Center for Disease Control, or CDC. One measure that can be taken to significantly dwindle the spread is to use Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE. This includes the use of facial coverings or respirators. At Clinical Supplies, we are dedicated to help communities drive these numbers down by providing quality masks. We have N95 respirators available which are the best masks available in the market.
In the county of Hillsborough, which encompasses the city of Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico, the number of positive COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed to the fourth highest in all of Florida. Between Thursday July 16th to Friday July 17th in the morning, the county of Hillsborough added 945 new cases alone — the highest single day since July 9th. This past week there has also been an increase in the number of positive cases that did not align with the usual decrease in testing — the county actually returned more tests than they had last weekend, showing in fact that there are more people with the virus. With 40 deaths reported on Wednesday July 15th, the most any county in the area has reported in one day, the county is struggling to grapple with how to go forward— particularly with the school year starting in about a month. Different plans have been discussed to be able to send kids back to school, including possibly shifting the start date back two weeks. Nevertheless, Governor Ron DeSantis continues to urge full school reopening, arguing that children are less likely to contract COVID-19 — a claim that while has no scientific proof, does have empirical data.
Politics however allows there to be exceptions to the way that cases are counted in the state. The Tampa Bay Time states that Publix, a southern grocery store chain, confirmed that at least six different locations have tested positive for coronavirus within the past two weeks. However, Publix and other similar retailers are not required by the state to report positive cases of COVID-19 to the public. Representatives of the chain say that they are continuing to focus on protective measures in all of their stores. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union reported in June that already over 11,000 grocery workers tested positive for COVID-19 nationally. However, this does not include workers from stores where workers are not unionized such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and even Publix. The county is also seeing an increase of transit employees who are sick with the virus — a bad sign since there is reliance on public transportation.
In the health world, the Tampa Bay Times reports that doctors are seeing younger and sicker patients than they did a month ago — with an increase of about 15 COVID-19 patients a day to now often 70 or more. In spite of that, the percentage of beds available, which is currently at about 18%, is still a higher number than it is in the other three Florida counties that have a higher number of cases — Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. The Florida Department of Health, or FDOH, in the county shows that the virus is also spiking in some age groups, notably in people younger than fourteen years old. The statistics from the FDOH show that the seven-day average percentages for this age group went up from 5.53 percent on June 24th to 6.99 percent over the weekend of July 9th. Regardless, Hillsborough hospitals are bracing for a patient surge. Governor Ron DeSanti has announced that he is planning to send 100 nurses that are under state contract to hospitals in both Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties.
Empirical research has proven that the use of masks significantly reduces the rate of contagion. But more importantly, the experiment of nature has shown that wearing facial coverings significantly reduces the number of positive cases. In areas where mask usage is heavily enforced, the data has shown less positive cases. This is because respirators prohibit the spread of airborne particles coming from the nose or mouth. When one speaks, hundreds of particles are released from the mouth. When one sneezes or coughs the number of particles is in the thousands. Depending on the strength of the action or speech, these particles can land anywhere up to six feet in distance, and not only do they travel but they also remain suspended before they settle. In areas of colder and less humid temperatures, these particles remain suspended for longer periods of time and increase the chances of spreading the virus. Masks are crucial when in crowded groups or indoor settings.
At Clinical Supplies we are dedicated to providing top of the line respirators to those who need them the most. We are working with one of the flagship N95 mask brand’s of the United States, 3M, to provide reliable and safe respirators. The N95 mask is the best respirator available on the market. It is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, and can be worn for medical and health uses. We are here to keep people safe, one mask at a time.