Collier County Manager Mark Isackson returned to his duties at the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday after an absence of approximately two months while battling COVID-19.
Commissioners appointed Deputy County Manager Sean Callahan as Acting County Manager at a budget hearing on Sept.
At the time, county officials did not say how long Isackson was or would be absent, or a reason for his absence.
Previous Coverage:Collier County Manager Temporarily Out of County, Acting County Manager Appointed
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On his return, Isackson sent a memo to county officials explaining what had happened.
“I contracted COVID-19 during my late summer vacation,” Isackson’s memo reads. “I don’t know where I was at the time, what I was doing, or who might have given me the virus. The virus certainly didn’t care that I was having a good time and that I was given a respite from a very busy year. It didn’t know my social status, voting history, or opinions on public policy matters. What it did know was that it had a new host.”
According to the memo, Isackson was not vaccinated when he contracted the virus.
“Just before I left the office for my vacation, I told my staff that I was planning to get vaccinated during my absence. I wish I had made time for that much earlier,” Isackson’s memo reads. “Maybe it would have saved me developing double COVID pneumonia…Maybe it could have avoided 10 days in the ICU with a very uncomfortable intubation and over a week on a ventilator…The 50lbs I lost lost weight? It would have been better if it was planned and not because I couldn’t eat.”
According to the memo, Isackson shared his experience with COVID-19 with county officials as testimony.
“I felt the brunt of COVID-19, and I don’t want you to experience what I was able to survive only through the providence of a highly skilled but overworked team of health professionals,” Isackson’s memo read. “According to the CDC, only 63% of the total Collier County population is fully vaccinated. It can and must be better.”
In the memo, Isackson shared statistics showing that the majority of patients with COVID-19 who are hospitalized or in intensive care have not been vaccinated against the virus.
“Collier County will not require employees to vaccinate, but will continue to offer employees free Moderna vaccinations at the Department of Health at our main county campus,” Isackson’s memo reads.
According to the memo, Isackson returned to work as county manager on Nov. 1.
“I was fit…I was healthy…and with significant help from health professionals, I was one of the lucky survivors given my unvaccinated vulnerability to COVID-19,” Isackson’s memo reads. “Unless you have been personally advised otherwise by a doctor, I strongly recommend that you consider a free vaccination and significantly reduce your risk of experiencing something I will not soon forget. Don’t take a totally unnecessary risk with your health!”