VENICE — The ability to vaccinate people in a pandemic was not one of the reasons Fire Chief Shawn Carvey proposed a few years ago that the city take over emergency medical services from the county.
But it’s another of the reasons he’s glad it happened.
He told the City Council on Tuesday that the Venice Fire Department got 180 doses of vaccine about two weeks ago in a state pilot program for the vaccination of residents who are unable to leave their homes.
It’s the only department in the area that’s participating in the program, he said.
City paramedics have been administering about 10-20 shots a day, Carvey said, and have been greeted with “happiness and tears.”
Statewide, about 1,300 people have been vaccinated under the program, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a new conference in Hialeah on Tuesday.
The program is for people who are unable to get to a vaccination site because of health issues, Carvey said. People 65 and older are getting priority, he said, but each person is evaluated individually.
The department is working with agencies that assist residents who are unable to leave their houses in an effort to identify potential vaccine recipients whom the department screens, he told the City Council.
The city’s allotment of vaccine will be exhausted soon, Carvey said, so he’ll be asking the state for another one to continue the program.
To be considered for a vaccination in the program, call 941-480-3030.
More sites, nothing local
DeSantis announced at his news conference that CVS stores around the state will begin offering vaccinations this week.
Most of the participating stores are in the Miami area. One CVS in Manatee County will be giving shots, but none in Sarasota County.
DeSantis also said that four federal vaccination sites will offer vaccinations to age-50-and-older law enforcement officers, fire personnel and teachers, supplies permitting.
The federal sites will be in Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.
The Department of Health-Sarasota will hold first-dose clinics Wednesday and Friday, providing nearly 6,400 shots. Appointments have now been scheduled through account No. 32,051.
A second-dose clinic will be held Thursday for people who received their first shot Jan. 18-29 at Twin Lakes Park.
Publix’s website advises that appointments are “coming soon” in Sarasota County, which means that vaccine has been received.
The reservation system reopens at 7 a.m. Wednesday at Publix.com/covid-vaccine.
By the numbers
The state reported 5,600 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.
The positivity rate was 6.50%, with an additional 157 deaths reported. The death toll now stands at 30,213.
Sarasota County reported 51 new cases Tuesday, and seven deaths. Since the first reported case in Florida at Sarasota Doctors Hospital on March 1, 2020, a total of 725 people have died in Sarasota County from COVID-19.
The county’s positivity rate was 3.70%.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital reported 41 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, with 13 in the ICU.
Its seven-day positivity rate was 3.9%, compared to 4.1% for the previous period.
It reported no deaths.
Venice Regional Bayfront Health had nine COVID-19 patients Tuesday, with no employees isolating at home. It reported no deaths since Friday.
Statewide, 4,198 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 Tuesday, 60 of them in Sarasota County.
ICU bed availability statewide was 19.90% Tuesday, and 32.14% in the county.
The Sarasota County School District had 20 staff and 39 students isolating and 13 staff and 171 students in quarantine Tuesday.
In the previous 48 hours, 22 people had been told to isolate and 75 to quarantine.