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Sarasota Monday, Jul. 19, 2021 10 months ago

Buchanan announces he is quarantined with COVID-19

Longboat Key Republican says he was fully vaccinated.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and that he is quarantining at his Longboat Key home with "very mild, flu-like symptoms.''


In a statement posted this morning on Twitter, Buchanan said he had been vaccinated “since it was made available earlier this year.’’ He was tested after experiencing symptoms. 

“I look forward to returning to work as soon as possible,’’ Buchanan said. “In the meantime, this should serve as a reminder that although vaccines provide a very high degree of protection, we must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.”

Also this week, Sarasota Memorial Hospital shared an update with information on local COVID-19 trends and commentary from Manuel Gordillo, Sarasota Memorial’s medical director of infection prevention and control. The hospital said it had single-digit COVID-19 cases a month ago, and zero patients in the ICU with the disease.

Gordillo said health officials witnessed a quickly shifting situation after that point.

“It rapidly escalates,” Gordillo said. “Over a period of about two weeks, two and a half, three weeks, we've gone from three patients in the hospital to the current upper-30s.”

The hospital said the majority of hospitalizations are among individuals who have not been fully vaccinated, which is in line with national data. Of nearly 100 admitted patients with COVID-19 at SMH, six were a “breakthrough infection” of individuals who had completed a series of vaccinations at least 14 days prior to testing positive.

The hospital said many of the admitted patients are younger than those hospitalized in 2020 and early 2021, including some patients in their 30s. Gordillo said locally, more than 80% of senior citizens have received both vaccinations, but older individuals who are unvaccinated remain the population most vulnerable to severe effects from COVID-19.

“Basically, this has transformed into the epidemic of the unvaccinated,” Gordillo said.

Longtime Buchanan aide Gary Tibbetts, who had been with the congressman since 2011, died of COVID-19 in July 2020.

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