Florida has seen at least three days of record-breaking COVID-19 cases since the start of August. Overall, the number of new daily cases has continued to increase in Florida and the state has become the new epicenter for COVID. According to CDC data, the state's seven-day moving average number of cases has continued to increase since mid-July to numbers that the state had not seen throughout the pandemic. The situation is especially dire in Louisiana and Florida, which have the country’s worst hospitalization rates. As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly 500 students in Palm Beach were quarantined after being exposed to COVID-19 just two days into the school year. On Friday, the Broward County Teachers Union announced that three unvaccinated teachers died of COVID-19 within 24 hours this week. Florida and Texas alone have accounted for nearly 40% of new hospitalizations across the country. Florida is 3rd in overall cases of Covid and 4th in overall deaths, Texas is 2nd in overall cases and 3rd in overall deaths from Covid so far. Simultaneously, the crush of new COVID-19 infections in Mississippi and Tennessee has become so dire that the state has turned to efforts reminiscent of the earliest days of the U.S. pandemic - the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) opening up a 20-bed field hospital in its parking garage on Friday morning. In Mississippi, where daily cases have doubled in the last two weeks, more than 4,400 students were quarantined from August 2 to 6, according to state data. Low vaccination rates and the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus have driven a surge of COVID-19 cases across the United States, overwhelming some state medical systems. Southern states, many with vaccination rates well below the national average, have seen explosive case growth. As of August 12th, although 83% of Texans are age 12 and older and eligible for a vaccine, only 44.8% are fully vaccinated. People between the ages of 20 and 59 now account for a higher proportion of COVID-19 hospitalizations than in January.
The Merchantville Fire Department and Police Department want our community to know how much they appreciate the generosity shown by the individuals and businesses they protect. This past week they offered Facebook "shout-outs" for the PPE provided by Cindy Zimmerman and the Camden City School Nurses who sewed face masks for the patrol division and, the New Jersey Young Democrat Labor Caucus donated KN95 masks to the fire department. Last week Flying Crust Pizza & Wings dropped off a delicious at the firehouse on May 31st, the Brejcha Family provided lunch to the firefighters on May 29th and, Mission BBQ for brought lunch to our police officers on May 27th. Thanks for feeding and protecting those who keep us safe.
As you may know, the CDC and federal guidelines may begin to require us to wear face masks anytime we go outside. Check out this quick video update from Dr. Gary Sapienza, from Leading Smiles in Merchantville, as he reviews ways to control the spread of Covid-19 infections, protection in the absence of testing and some of the common face mask options and alternatives that are available to you. He urges all of us to wear a mask to protect your neighbors first and yourself second. Stay healthy!