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
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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
During the pandemic, I cook all of our meals at home. I try to keep as much variety in the fare as possible; I’m always trying something new, or reaching back to re-discover traditional southern foods that we love. I cook French, Italian, other European, North African, Thai, Indian, and of course, southern American soul food. I just put away the deep fryer for a while, in the interest of cardiovascular health, after having made some fried chicken and red horse bread this week. Red horse bread is a form of hush puppy, but the history of red horse bread pre-dates hush puppies. The earliest recorded use of the term “hush puppy” dates to 1899  . But those puppies were inspired by red horse bread, which dates back to pre-Civil War times in the Carolinas. Some even trace the roots back to creative cooking by 18 th Century nuns in Louisiana. My husband’s father, whose name was also Tom Cooley, made red horse bread, which he called red hoss bread, and served it with fish.