Flagler County’s first-ever virtual news conference revealed the fissures between the state’s patchwork approach to stay-at-home orders and local officials’ desire for more. And it underscored a persistent lack of sufficient testing that would enable health officials to conduct broader surveillance testing and better grasp the true extent of infections locally.
Despite the rising numbers, Flagler County continues to be among the counties where testing has lagged, with a mere 143 tests conducted in total, many of them through the Flagler Department of Health and some at AdventHealth Palm Coast.
One week into the lockdown, epidemiologists tracking rates of transmission in California and the United States worry that California’s shelter-in-place order is less effective in controlling new infections without stronger enforcement. Local lawmakers and public health officers share their concern and some are exercising their policing powers.
With infection numbers rising locally and across the state and indications of less rigorous adherence with social distancing rules, Jonathan Lord, the county’s emergency management chief, hinted that more stringent restrictions could be ahead.
Now with a population of 115,000, more than 12,000 of the net new arrivals over the decade were in the 65-and-older group, with implications for local health care, social services, schools, even politics.
State Attorney Jason Lewis had aggressively prosecuted Kimberle Weeks as a crude, arrogant official who had abused her position and flouted the law, insulting other people in office while ironically casting herself as an anti-corruption crusader.
The only option to buy time and minimize coronavirus deaths until universal testing is available is to enforce a lock-down, without which voluntary half-measures will only prolong harm to the economy and increase the death toll.
A few people were defying the coronavirus-inspired order to stay off Flagler’s beaches in the mistaken belief that their were on their own private property, but on the whole people were complying well.
A Flagler County school district employee has tested positive for Covid-19 as local health officials continue to stress that testing for is not necessary for most, even those showing flu-like symptoms that don’t involve respiratory difficulties, but staying in place is necessary.
Hammock Beach residents have written the Palm Coast mayor and called into the city, claiming visitors and groups at the resort are still gathering and potentially placing local residents at risk. The resort says the claims are inaccurate, and that it is taking all precautions in line with rules and recommendations.