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White House Coronavirus Task Force shows Lee County could see COVID-19 spike

New information shows the risk of contracting the coronavirus in parts of Southwest Florida is growing. There is also new question about why doctors in the region didn’t see it sooner.

We only learned about the possibilities after asking the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis to share information from the White House. A doctor we spoke to said the lack of transparency will not keep people safe.

A White House Coronavirus Task Force report puts Lee County in a red zone, meaning new cases are starting to rise significantly. It’s information the task force published Oct. 25.

MORE: White House Coronavirus Task Force Oct. 25 report

In eight of the last nine days, Florida has reported well over 4,000 cases. The task force is calling on the state to take action.

“The quicker we have this information, the quicker we can act,” said Dr. Rebekah Bernard, the president of Collier County Medical Society.

Bernard told us the governor’s office never shared the task force’s recommendations, starting with positive re-enforcement of mask wearing, social distancing and testing, along with pushing everyone to get a flu shot.

“We need good information and accurate information we can trust, and it really needs to be coming from the top levels of the government,” Bernard said.

The Oct. 25 task force puts Lee County in the moderate to high level category of community transmission.

We reached out to Lee County spokesperson, who told us the county did not receive the White House Coronavirus Task Force report from Oct. 25. But the governor’s office told us in a statement it does communicate with local agencies.

While not addressing the task force report directly, Dr. Larry Antonucci, the president and CEO of Lee Health, said everyone must do his or her part to stop further spread of COVID-19.

“Today, I’m asking you to stop the potential surge before it happens,” Antonucci said. “If we become complacent, it is not a matter of if but when we see a large spike in cases.”

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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