Four deaths related to COVID-19 added to Okeechobee County total

OKEECHOBEE – The Florida Department of Health now reports a total of six COVID-19-related deaths of Okeechobee County residents.

The four deaths added to the FDOH “COVID-19: Line list of deaths in Florida residents) on July 31 are:
• 93-year-old male, positive test added to FDOH dashboard on June 26,
• 60-year-old male, positive test reported July 6,
• 93-year-old male, positive test reported July 9, and,
• 78-year-old female, positive test reported July 17.

These four deaths were added to the two already on the dashboard:
• 65-year-old female, positive test reported June 22, and,
• 70-year-old male, positive test reported June 26.

Earlier in the week, the death of a 23-year-old male was erroneously added to the Okeechobee County COVID-19 deaths, and then removed the next day. At the July 30 meeting of the Okeechobee County Commissioners, Tiffany Collins of the Okeechobee County Health Department said “it happened to be a lab reporting error. It was an individual in a different county with the exact same name and date of birth as an individual in our county who passed away.”

She also advised the commissioners there were COVID-19 deaths that had not yet been posted on the website because they were waiting on the death certificates.

According to the July 31, FDOH report, 893 persons have tested positive for COVID-19 since testing began in March, including 889 residents and four non-residents. Positive cases range in age from 0 to 94. Okeechobee County has 6,106 people tested with a positive rate of 14.6%. The State of Florida has tested 3,633,393 people with a positive rate of 12.95%.

Some people have been tested more than once. Longterm care facility staff are tested every two weeks. First responders are tested if they have been exposed to someone who is believed to be COVID-19 positive. An individual may have multiple negative tests that are part of the data on the dashboard. However, according to FDOH, once a person tests positive, future tests (positive or negative) for that person are not added to the dashboard.

According to FDOH, to date 83 Okeechobee County residents and two non-residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have been hospitalized. According to data from the Agency of Healthcare Administration (AHCA), 11 Okeechobee County residents who are COVID-19 positive are currently hospitalized.

According to AHCA data, Okeechobee County currently has no ICU beds available; all eight ICU beds in the county are in use. However, not all COVID-19 patients require ICU. Also, some ICU beds may be in use by patients with other health ailments.

Larger hospitals in neighboring counties do have ICU beds available. Martin County has 32 available ICU beds. Palm Beach County has 98 adult ICU beds and 13 pediatric ICU beds open. St. Lucie County has nine adult ICU beds and four pediatric ICU beds open.

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