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Palm Coast Friday, Jul. 17, 2020 4 months ago

Three more Flagler County deaths, as COVID-19 'clobbers' community and state

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Testing moves to Cattleman's Hall, and the Department of Health has protocols for a potential school outbreak.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

“I have some sobering numbers to share with you,” Department of Health-Flagler Health Officer Bob Snyder said on July 17’s “Free For All Friday,” on WNZF. “The state of Florida is in a dire situation. … We’re kind of getting clobbered here in Flagler County.”

Three people died from COVID-19 in Flagler County in the week of July 13-17, Snyder reported. Sixteen people were being treated at AdventHealth Palm Coast as of July 17, compared with his typical report of zero or a couple in recent weeks.

There have been 598 cases so far in the county, up from 214 just four weeks ago. The positivity rate in the first two weeks of July was 6.7%, up from about 1% a month ago.

 

Testing location changes

Community testing will transition from outdoors at Daytona State College to indoors at Cattleman’s Hall (150 Sawgrass Road, Bunnell), beginning July 27. Call 313-4200 for an appointment

“We wanted to get our nurses out of the oppressive heat,” Snyder said, noting that the nurses are “donned from head to toe” in personal protective equipment.

A recent test from a company in Boston showed promising signs of developing a vaccine, he added.

 

‘A public mission’

DOH-Flagler Medical Director Dr. Stephen Bickel echoed Snyder’s sentiment: “We’re getting clobbered.”

“Prevention is not really a medical mission at this point; it’s a public mission,” he said. “It’s a really contagious illness. … I urge people to realize what a battle this is, and it’s not a time for complacency or divisiveness. This is a time to get the job done.”

 

Contact tracing

Increased staffing will enable the DOH to effectively trace all the close contacts of those who test positive with COVID-19 in Flagler County, Snyder said. The goal is to investigate everyone who has had a close interaction, meaning within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more with or without a mask, with an infected person.

Some people are reporting only four or five close contacts; others are reporting that they’ve been in contact with 50-60 people.

 

Responding in schools

Snyder also said if it were up to him, he would not open schools.

However, the district does plan to open on Aug. 10. If there is an outbreak, Snyder said, the DOH is prepared.

“We have protocols, a plan,” he said. “We know what to do, and we’ll do it well, to keep everyone healthy.”

Brian McMillan has been editor of the Palm Coast Observer since it began in 2010. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children. Email...

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