'Preventable' COVID outbreak infects 20 in Flagler, hospitalizing 4

DOH Health Officer Bob Snyder says it's due to Flagler Health and Rehabilitation Center only vaccinating 24% of its staff.

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Twelve patients and eight staff members have COVID-19 at Flagler Health and Rehabilitation, Florida Department of Health-Flagler Health Officer Bob Snyder reported May 28 on WNZF’s “Free For All Friday.”

Of the 20 total cases, four resulted in hospitalizations over the past few weeks.

How did the outbreak happen?

Snyder said that only 24% of the staff have been vaccinated.

“It’s clear what is happening: They are bringing COVID from the outside, because of their lack of belief that vaccination is the way to go,” he said. “But what’s happening is, they’re getting residents sick. This is all preventable.”

When “Free For All Friday” host David Ayres observed that Snyder appeared to be upset about the situation, the normally cheerful Snyder responded, “I’m upset about it — you bet.”

A call to Flagler Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located at 300 Dr. Carter Blvd., across the street from the DOH in Bunnell, was not immediately returned. Management's response will be added as soon as it is available. 

Snyder said the DOH has been receiving calls from family members of patients at Flagler Health and Rehabilitation, asking for advice or help.

“Please find out if your loved one has been vaccinated, because that should be your No. 1 priority,” Snyder said. “That’s all I can say: Please get vaccinated.”

Snyder added that demand for vaccines has dwindled countywide. So far, 57% of Flagler residents have been vaccinated, and 84% of those over age 65. Flagler County is about 10th in the state for vaccination rate.

For anyone who has received a first shot but is nervous about getting sick due to the second shot, Medical Director Dr. Stephen Bickel said that it’s best to get the second shot. Any adverse reaction will be temporary and is well worth the risk in exchange for being protected long-term against the coronavirus.


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