In a season that overlapped the coronavirus pandemic, most storms spun away from Florida, sparing communities double-barreled crises of responding to a major storm while contending with restrictions and safety concerns imposed by the coronavirus.
Oral arguments about Alachua County’s mask mandate before a three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeal Monday was a spectacle of audacious leaps and strange analogies that nevertheless illustrated the sharp and far from resolved divide between mask proponents and anti-maskers, including on the judicial bench.
Flagler County’s tourism-tax revenue has gone up three successive months between July and September, substantially so in August and September, in contrast with statewide tourism revenue, which plummeted 30 percent in the third quarter. Vacation rentals, the beach, and vacationers traveling shorter distances account for the county’s success.
Flagler County has the 10th-lowest average in the last seven days among Florida’s 67 counties. But those are relative and deceptive numbers that appear better only in relation to much worse numbers elsewhere. In the absolute local numbers remain dismal–and dangerous–by any measure.
Florida’s and Flagler’s complete daily reports by the Health Department of Covid-19 data including county-by-county infection numbers, testing, people monitored and deaths.
Flagler County’s unemployment rate in October was 5.7 percent, down a statistically insignificant decimal point from the previous month, and consumer confidence statewide again dropped in a reflection of the sharply worsening covid pandemic locally and statewide.
Health care workers and first responders will get the vaccine first, followed by residents at large. The health department will use the same infrastructure it uses for Covid-19 testing, but on a more massive scale–assuming the more than 112,000 doses needed to approach herd immunity in Flagler are available by spring.
Bob Snyder, who heads the Flagler health department, has been warning for weeks that the combination of holiday gatherings, cooler weather and more indoor activities would result in quicker spread of the disease at a time when community spread is already out of control in much of the country and not exactly under control in Flagler.
Russell’s revelation occurs as cases in Flagler and in Florida are rising sharply and the surge cascading over much of the nation, now reaching catastrophic proportions in many states, is beginning to ripple in Florida, where the state agreed to extend remote-learning options in all schools through June.
The Flagler County School Board and the Flagler County Commission held swearing-in ceremonies for a combined six new and re-elected members. Donald O’Brien was named chairman of the commission, Trevor Tucker chairman of the school board.