COVID-19’s toll on Lee County in 2021: More than 91,000 cases and nearly 1,200 deaths reported

Dan DeLuca
Fort Myers News-Press
  • Lee County ended 2021 with more than double the amount of COVID-19 cases reported from the year before and close to 1,200 deaths.
  • Between Jan. 2, 2021, and Dec. 29, 2021, there were 91,045 COVID-19 cases and 1,145 deaths reported in Lee County.
  • That’s up from the 40,635 cases and 672 deaths reported in Lee between the start of the pandemic and Jan. 1, 2021.

Lee County ended 2021 with more than double the amount of COVID-19 cases reported from the year before and close to 1,200 deaths.

The News-Press analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Profile report from Dec. 30 to provide a glimpse into COVID-19’s toll locally.

Between Jan. 2, 2021, and Dec. 29, 2021, there were 91,045 COVID-19 cases and 1,145 deaths reported in Lee County. That’s up from the 40,635 cases and 672 deaths reported in Lee between the start of the pandemic and Jan. 1, 2021.

Community profile reports for the full calendar year from Jan.1 through Dec. 31 were not readily available and data was not reported on holidays or weekends. Florida stopped releasing daily COVID-19 numbers last June, though it still reports its data to the CDC each day.  

What about in Collier County? More than 38,000 cases and 552 deaths reported 

Lee’s COVID-19 case growth of 224% outpaced Florida’s in 2021. The state reported about 2.79 million cases last year, a 214% increase from the 1.3 million reported in 2020.

According to the CDC, Florida reported 40,807 COVID-19 deaths in 2021, 188% more than the 21,673 it reported the prior year. Lee's percentage increase was slightly less, at 176%.

Previous coverage: 

Most of Lee’s COVID-19 deaths in 2021 took place during the surge of the more virulent delta variant. Lee Health reported nearly 450 COVID-19 patients died at their hospitals during a two-month span in August and September. That's nearly one-quarter of the county’s total reported COVID-19 deaths to date.

Through Dec. 29, Lee ranked 65th among all U.S. counties in cumulative COVID-19 cases with 131,680 and 75th with 1,857 reported deaths, according to the CDC. According to U.S. Census figures, Lee ranks 83rd in population among the 3,220 U.S. counties, boroughs and census areas included in the community profile report.

Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous with more than 10 million residents, ranks No. 1, with more than 1.65 million COVID-19 cases and 27,000-plus deaths since the start of the pandemic.

It’s already been a rough start going into the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic both nationally and locally with the rise of the more contagious omicron variant. On Wednesday, Lee Health reported it was treating 215 COVID-19 patients, more than three times the 59 it reported on Dec. 28 and the most since the last week of September.

According to the Florida Department of Health, which reports COVID-19 data weekly, Lee County added more than 5,900 new cases in the week ending Dec. 30, the most since more than 7,500 were reported in early September during the delta surge.

Connect with Dan DeLuca: @News-PressDan (Twitter), ddeluca@gannett.com.

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