BREVARD COUNTY, FL. – A significant uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases in Brevard County has prompted an urgent appeal from area health officials for non-vaccinated residents to get vaccinated and for the community as a whole to exercise personal safety measures such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing face coverings in crowded places to curb the spread of this potentially deadly virus.
In recent weeks, the increase in coronavirus cases in Brevard County has begun to match peak COVID infection levels that were seen during the height of the pandemic. Last week, Brevard County recorded 1,443 cases, according to the Florida Department of Health. In comparison, for the week ending June 3 there were 246 cases. The majority of patients testing positive are between the ages of 20 to 40 years old. What’s happening in Brevard County mirrors a trend seen statewide and throughout the nation, officials said.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brevard County Fire Rescue averaged 10 to 15 daily transports of patients with COVID symptoms to area hospitals. BCFR Chief Mark Schollmeyer said transports are now back up to an average 10 per day, and that area hospital emergency rooms are crowded with COVID patients.
"We are experiencing an increase in COVID-related emergency department visits and hospital admissions,” said Andy Romine, President of Rockledge Regional Medical Center. “Over 98% of the COVID patients that have been admitted this year have been unvaccinated individuals.”
Parrish Medical Center in Titusville is seeing similar increases in COVID-related emergency visits and hospitalizations.
“The pandemic is far from over,” said George Mikitarian, President/CEO, Parrish Medical Center. “We can’t stress enough the importance of continued vigilance with preventive measures and encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”
Maria Stahl, Administrator for FDOH-Brevard, said vaccines are readily available in Brevard County. “Everyone over the age of 12 should get vaccinated,” she said.
There is an ample supply of COVID vaccines – Moderna (2 doses), Pfizer (2 doses) and Johnson & Johnson/Jannsen (1 dose) -- whether it’s at your personal physician’s office, an urgent care, a pharmacy or grocery store. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen are also available at the FDOH-Brevard Health Clinic in Viera, 2565 Judge Fran Jamieson Way. Many of these locations, excluding FDOH-Brevard, also offer COVID testing or personal test kits.
“We have long cautioned that COVID-19 would not go away easily, and that it would take everyone to do his or her part to ensure we defeat this pandemic once and for all. And as expected, the Delta variant has now become, and will likely remain, the dominant strain across the U.S. and Florida over the coming months,” said Jeffrey Stalnaker, MD, Chief Clinical Officer, Health First.
“Our message could not be more clear. Vaccines are widely available and have been proven to be safe and highly effective – including against the Delta variant,” Stalnaker said. “Although receiving a vaccine does not provide a 100 percent guarantee of immunity, it does provide a near 100 percent level of defense against becoming sick enough for hospitalization. We join our regional health partners in our efforts to fully vaccinate the community, which brings us closer to herd immunity.”
Don Walker, Communications Director for Brevard County Government, called the rise in COVID cases “an alarming trend.”
“We all need to do our due diligence to help bring these numbers down and stop the rapid spread of COVID in our community,” Walker said. “The pandemic clearly isn’t over because we’re seeing a vicious resurgence. If you haven’t been vaccinated I would strongly recommend it sooner than later for your own protection.”