Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service


COVID-19: Florida 3rd In Adults at Risk Due to Age, 1st in Uninsured out of Top 25 States – Columbia County at Risk

Observer Graphic | Photo by Pete Linforth/Pixabay

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Columbia County has much in common with the state of Florida when it comes to COVID-19: adults at risk due to age or medical conditions, slow to act, lost time while not taking coronavirus seriously and the County’s high poverty rate.

Two weeks ago, this reporter spoke with a highly placed official with the Florida Department of Health and a doctor at the Veterans Administration. Both spoke frankly under the condition of anonymity. They wondered what was wrong with the people in Lake City (Columbia County) and could not fathom that they were not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

A recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows the number of people in the United States with coronavirus (COVID-19) increasing. While the majority of people who become infected are expected to be either asymptomatic or recover without needing special treatment (World Health Organization), older people over sixty and younger adults with serious medical conditions have a greater risk of becoming severely ill (or dying) if they are infected with coronavirus.

Florida: Kaiser Family Foundation

• Adults at-risk due to age or medical conditions: 46.5% — 3rd highest (7,997,800)

• Adults over 60 out of all at-risk adults: 74.9% — 12th highest (5,986,560)

• Pct. of 18-60 pop who are at risk: 17.9% — 12th highest (2,011,240)

• Poverty rate: 13.6% (17th highest)

• Uninsured population: 13.0% (5th highest)

Key Findings from the KFF Report: this is serious business

About four in ten adults ages 18 and older in the U.S. (105.5 million people) have a higher risk of developing serious illness if they are infected with coronavirus, either due to their older age (those 60 and older) or health condition(s).

Most of those at higher risk of developing a serious illness are older (76.3 million adults - 60 or older), however, the remaining 29.2 million adults ages 18-59 are at risk due to an underlying medical condition.

Adults who are both older and have these underlying medical conditions have an even greater risk of developing severe illness if they become infected.

Among adults age 60 or older, more than half also have a serious medical condition (54%), rising to nearly two thirds (62%) of people age 80 and older.

The share of adults ages 18 and older who have a higher risk of developing a more serious illness varies across the country, ranging from 31 percent (Washington, D.C.) to 51 percent (West Virginia). In Washington State, California and New York, some of the states hardest hit by COVID-19 thus far, the share of adults at high risk is 40 percent, 37 percent and 40 percent respectively.

An estimated 5.7 million adults, who are at higher risk of getting a serious illness if they become infected with coronavirus are uninsured, including 3.9 million adults under age 60 and 1.8 million who are ages 60-64.

Columbia County

According to the U.S. Census, the Columbia County poverty rate is 17.3% compared to Florida’s rate of 13.6%, 27.2% higher than the state average.

The latest statistics from the WellFlorida Council show that 3 of the 5 leading causes of death in Columbia County are cancer, heart disease, and chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD).

The County’s chronic lower respiratory disease rate is 75% higher than the state rate, which should be a serious consideration for the County’s public officials when planning meetings and their ability to disinfect the meeting areas.

The Homeless County 5 have been steadfast in their refusal to build a new County meeting complex, instead spending millions to design a new jail for 85 high risk prisoners.

This week’s meeting of the County 5 will be telecast with remote access. The County fathers have had months to prepare.  While its last meeting was a success, the emergency meeting before that was a health risk fiasco.

The County 5 is planning to hold a meeting this Thursday. It is scheduled to be held in the School Administration Auditorium, which has cloth seats that cannot be disinfected.

The County has alternative, but small meeting spaces that can be disinfected and the ability to maintain safe distances.

It will be interesting to see what it does.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)