Staying Home: A year and three months after Hurricane Ian

More than a week has passed since I left the house. I left to take my husband, Tom, to the emergency room because he'd nearly severed his left index finger on his table saw. Hearing his screams caused me to shoot out of the pool. I raced past spots of blood on the floor, and I found him in the living room, a dish towel wrapped around his left hand. He was in a mild state of shock. I called 911, then raced to put on dry clothes because I know from experience that those EMTs arrive promptly. Amazingly, there was not much blood to mark the occasion. As one of the EMTs pointed out, there was more pool water on the floor than blood. As the EMTs cleaned some sawdust out of the wound and stuck the dangling finger back on, binding it with gauze, I asked questions such as, "Will he be able to type?" Two EMTs laughed, thinking this was a joke. But a third EMT said, "Is he an author?" "Yes," I answered. "Will he still be able to play the drums?" was m

What you can do about red tide

  by Barbara Joy Cooley, Chair of the COTI Environment Committee What can you do about red tide?   There is something.   Maybe you have done it, or are already doing it.   Maybe you haven’t done it yet, but you will – hopefully, soon. What is it that you can do?   Go Native!   Get rid of that green, grassy lawn and replace it with native vegetation.   City of Sanibel guidelines state that at least 75 percent of your yard and garden should be planted with native plants.   To meet the guidelines, only 25 percent can be non-natives. In many ways, green, grassy lawns are the worst of the non-natives because, as City Councilman Dr. Scott Crater stated so clearly on March 7, “You can’t grow grass on sand.   You cannot do it.   It is impossible.   The only way to grow grass on sand is to dump chemicals on the ground.” Those chemicals include nutrients that eventually make their way into coastal waters to feed the red tide algae, contributing to red tide blooms like those that are plag

Scott and Mike for City Council

On March 2, or sooner for those who order mail-in ballots , Sanibel citizens will be able to vote for three new city council members.  Out of the field of six candidates, I know who I will get my vote for two of those positions.  For the third position, I haven’t yet decided. In an outstanding field of candidates, these two really stand out for me:   Mike Miller and Scott Crater.   Both have the kind of expertise and leadership qualities that we need in this somewhat difficult time.   I endorse Mike Miller and Scott Crater for the city council. For the City of Sanibel, there will be economic fallout from the pandemic for some time to come.   The City also needs to continue to take measures to protect against the spread of the virus, as the vaccine rollout is slowed by lack of supply.   We also continue to experience water quality problems due to releases from Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee watershed.   To deal with all of this, we need council members with strong science, f

COVID-19 Surges and Vaccinations Have Begun

Assessing the risk posed by COVID-19 on Sanibel and Captiva involves considering the situation at the hospitals in Lee County.  The islands have no hospitals; island residents depend upon hospitals on the mainland.  Those hospitals are on the front line of the epidemic in Lee County. Lee Health, the main hospital system for Lee County, continues to experience high occupancy rates and positivity rates (percent of tests that are positive) for COVID-19 tests processed in Lee Health laboratories.   Over the past week, the occupancy rate was 95% on December 30, and 96% on January 5.   The daily positivity rates were 32.2% on December 30 and 34% on January 5.   Occupancy of adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds was 89% on December 30, and 93% on January 5. Meanwhile, the Lee Health system has been vaccinating its key workers, as well as staff members who are 65 or older.   As more vaccines are received, Lee Health will announce plans for vaccinating residents who are over 65.   National

COVID-19 Update: December 30, 2020

Lee Health, the main hospital system for Lee County, now has both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.  At this point, the vaccinations are taking place three days a week in designated rooms at Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center and the Cape Coral Hospital. "Lee Health is currently vaccinating its key workers and employees over 65," said Lee Health board member and Sanibel resident Stephen R. Brown, M.D.   "They are preparing to inoculate the general public over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions. Then the general public.   Even with the vaccines we will still need to follow current protocols. Personally, I'm excited about Johnson and Johnson vaccine which should be ready in February. " COVID-19 numbers in the Lee Health system have trended upward during this last week of 2020.   The COVID-19 positivity rate (percent of tests that are positive) for the Lee Health test collection sites has increased from 25.7% on December 21 to 32% on Decemb

Vaccinations are beginning in Lee County

Good news!  Lee Health officials report that today (Monday, December 21) is the day they will be receiving the first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine.  “We will begin vaccinating employees as soon as possible,” writes the Lee Health Facebook page manager. Because this first supply is limited, the Lee Health system will start with vaccinating employees with the highest risk of exposure.   That includes those who work in the emergency department, intensive care, COVID-19 units, respiratory therapy, and the COVID-19 test collection sites. These Lee Health employees will go to one of two locations, Gulf Coast Medical Center or Cape Coral Hospital, to receive the vaccine.   Although vaccinations are just starting in Lee County, over 32,700 vaccines have been administered in the state of Florida as of today, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. In a December 15 update sent to hospital board members, Lee Health CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci wrote, “I assure you tha

COVID and the Sanibel Community

December 15, 2020 The number of COVID cases posted on the City of Sanibel web site is meaningless, because it includes only people who reside in Sanibel.   Our community is so much more than just the people who live on Sanibel. For all Lee County residents, Sanibel is their jewel of a sanctuary island, a place they can visit and treasure.   Those people are also a part of the Sanibel community. The people who work in Sanibel businesses and non-profits for the most part live on the mainland.   Still, they are a part of our Sanibel community. The people who come to work on building, repairing, or enhancing our built environment and landscapes are also an important part of our community.   Most of them, too, live off island. And of course, Sanibel visitors are a significant number of those present on the island every day, especially in late Fall through early Spring.   They are part of the Sanibel community, too.   To protect our greater Sanibel community, our city council pass