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Covid cases continue to decline here

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of February 17, 2022)

New COVID-19 infections locally fell by another one third over the past week, down from 758 to 517 as of Friday’s report to the Florida Department of Health, but five more COVID-positive people died, bringing the total to 50 since Christmas.

The current case rate is less than one fourth of Indian River County’s record number of cases which topped out at 2,225 one week in early January.

For the first time in six weeks, the rate of people testing positive for the virus has dropped below 20 percent and at least for now sits at about 17 percent.

Most at-home tests are not captured in this number, and as the free test kits began arriving this month, home testing now could make up a significant amount of local testing.

New hospitalizations dropped significantly over the past week, with 12 COVID-positive people admitted to hospitals – half the 24 admissions the previous week.

But the number of COVID-positive patients currently hospitalized at Cleveland Clinic Indian River increased to 41 from 27 last week, according to hospital spokesman Scott Samples.

For those local residents planning to travel this spring – or just curious about the level of COVID-19 restrictions being imposed in other locales – AARP has compiled a database of mask and vaccine mandates, as well as expiration dates, for all 50 states plus major metropolitan areas where mayors have set more restrictive policies than the governor.

There’s also an entry for the District of Columbia, which has a vaccine passport program. Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco have similar vaccine passport requirements, and many states still have indoor mask mandates for everyone 2 years old and older, and are enforcing the federal vaccine mandates on government employees and healthcare workers.

Hawaii still has restrictions on the number of people permitted at social gatherings. Kansas has a quarantine rule for unvaccinated people who have traveled out of state or attended a gathering of 500 or more people, and for anyone who has returned from a cruise or from travel to certain countries.

In contrast, the status report for Florida says: “Fully reopened. On July 30, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed an order protecting the right of parents to choose whether their children wear a mask in schools. In May, the governor signed a bill that prohibits vaccine passports.”

To find the listing, which was updated last Friday, google AARP Coronavirus Restrictions.