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Islands’ COVID-19 Task Force discusses positive cases on island

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Nov 11, 2020


The Nov. 2 Pine Island COVID-19 Task Force meeting opened with discussion on finding accurate numbers of infection specific to the island.

Former WINK-TV News anchor Jim McLaughlin has listed Lee County numbers provided by the Florida Department of Health, on the Pine Island Pandemic –Community Action Facebook page.

Task Force member Dr. Daniel Hanley, who is still looking at January 2021 for on island testing at his office in Bokeelia, said people should be looking toward a realistic future.

“COVID-19 is going to be around for the next few years,” said Hanley.

According to Hanley, knowing how to handle getting sick from the virus is of the utmost importance. “Almost nobody is wearing a mask on the island,” said Hanley.

Task Force member Sue Dahod contends that this attitude is unique to Florida.

“I’ve been in a lot of other states and everybody wears masks,” said Dahod. “It’s a hard upward battle, but it works.”

Task Force leader Eric McCrea agreed that much focus has gone into trying to convince people to wear masks, and although this is important, perhaps efforts could be balanced with information about what someone should do if they become infected.

Hanley said most of the resistance he’s witnessed is coming from people who do not want to wear masks and it’s important to find a way to meet them halfway.

Dahod offered to repost the bilingual CDC guidelines flyer to the Pine Island Pandemic — Community Action page about what to do if you’re feeling as though you have symptoms of COVID-19, steps to be taken and where to go. Since many people seem to be opposed to wearing masks, the idea is to reach that group about the mitigation of possible complications caused by the virus if symptoms are presented.

“The bottom line is, if people are not wearing masks and they’re not socially distancing, they’re at a higher risk so they might be getting sick. This might include another group,” said Dahod.

McLaughlin reported numbers climbing again on the island according to the Florida Department of Health, although Hanley said he has not seen COVID-19 symptoms in his office for over a month.

“I think a lot of people are afraid to go out,” said Hanley. “If they feel sick I think they’re just staying home.”