MIAMI (WSVN) - A Monroe County commissioner has died from COVID-19 complications, and a Sunrise Police sergeant is fighting for his life after he contracted the virus.
Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron announced 61-year-old Mike Forster lost his fight against COVID-19, early Monday morning.
The commissioner was vaccinated, according to his friends and family.
Coldiron released a statement reading in part, “He passionately fought for all to have a quality of life to sustain living in the Keys with housing, fair wages and protection of the environment. He showed his love for the keys environment and people with all of his heart and soul. Rest in peace, my friend.”
Friends, family and co-workers gathered also recently outside Cleveland Clinic in Weston to show support for Sunrise Police Sgt. Darwin Arroyo.
The law enforcement officer is critically ill with COVID-19 and is in need of a lung transplant.
A GoFundMe page has been created to collect donations.
“These caregivers in the hospital are stressed to the max,” said Martha Baker, the president of the union that represents healthcare workers at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Just last week, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s father passed away from COVID-19 complications as well.
He was also vaccinated.
But despite some breakthrough cases of people who are fully vaccinated, health experts and officials stress that the overwhelming majority, an estimated 88% of COVID patients in intensive care units, are unvaccinated.
“This is largely becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Miami-Dade Commission Vice Chair Oliver Gilbert.
In hopes of keeping more alive, Dr. Anthony Fauci pointed to booster shots, saying they should help increase a person’s antibodies.
Moderna’s booster shots were originally set for a Sept. 20 rollout date but will likely be delayed by a couple of weeks.
Moderna is said to be in the process of submitting more data to the Food and Drug Administration, while Pfizer already has its data submitted.
“It’s absolutely right that even though the data looks very good, that we should probably have a third dose of the vaccine in order to achieve longer-lasting, better quality immunity from the Pfizer vaccine,” said Florida International University infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty. “Although it’s likely to be true for the Moderna, we have to actually look at the data and make sure we do this properly and correctly so everyone understands why we’re doing it.”
Researchers at Johnson & Johnson are just wrapping up their booster study.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows hospitalizations are something to continue to watch.
“We are getting a slight decrease in our number of people hospitalized, but we still have an extremely high rate of hospitalizations here,” said Marty.
On Monday, Florida reported 13,773 hospitalizations, which is nearly 400 fewer patients from Saturday’s data. The state also reported just over 3,200 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.
Baker said doctors and nurses are being pushed to the limit.
“It’s the physical stress, the mental stress of every single day, and the emtional stress,” she said. “Families can’t be there. They’re the ones holding the hands of the dying. Do you know how torturous it is to see someone who can’t breathe, dying, and you can’t do anything for them?”
White House officials indicated that booster vaccines won’t be administered until they receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Board.
On Tuesday, the United Teachers of Dade will host a pop-up vaccination site for Miami-Dade County Public School employees and residents of Liberty City, Brownsville and Allapattah. Vaccines will be available at Lillie C. Evans K-8 Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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