Makenna’s story illustrates the pernicious tenacity of a disease that upends, separates and traumatizes families, cuts off income, creates unspeakable loneliness even for those not hospitalized, and leaves its casualties fuming at a community’s refusal to embrace–beyond thoughts and prayers–the small, effortless measures that could prevent much of the harm to most.
Flagler County Health Department
Flagler County recorded just over 200 covid cases in the week ending today, the lowest total since early summer, but vaccinations have plummeted to a new low since after the initial rollouts. While school cases have also dropped, the Flagler school district is struggling through significant teacher and other staffing shortages.
The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County has received reports of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in two childcare centers in the community. The Health Department is not disclosing the names of the two child care centers, nor it clear for now whether they are large centers or home-based centers with a limited number of children.
Florida’s new surgeon general is Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a UCLA heart specialist who has fully embraced Gov. Ron DeSantis’ approach to the covid-19 pandemic, which favors natural infections as a means of combating the pandemic and minimal state interference with parental discretion over masking, quarantining and vaccines.
The county recorded 936 confirmed cases of covid in the week ending today, breaking last week’s record by over 200 cases. The health department is unable to conduct systematic contact tracing because it’s overwhelmed by the numbers. As of Thursday, 155 Flagler County residents had died of covid since the beginning of the pandemic, 41 of them in the last four weeks.
Florida House Rep. Anthony Sabatini wrote a letter to Flagler Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt and the school board today falsely claiming Indian Trails Middle School students are “being deprived of their right to a public school education,” and building on fabrications about the illegal quarantining of a child at Indian Trails Middle School that began pinballing around local social media pages last week.
There have been many a worst week since the coronavirus pandemic began in the winter of 2020. In Flagler County, last week was the worst yet as the tally of residents who died from the disease set another record, with nine deaths this weekend alone, the tally of new infections also set a weekly record, at 731 confirmed, and ICU admissions were still rising, though admissions had slowed.
Flagler’s death count was released only after a public record request. The state Health Department is masking death counts for the state as a whole, just as it has been fudging vaccination figures to make them seem higher than they are, just as it has eliminated daily reports of case counts, whether for the state or the counties, in an apparent effort to downplay the intensity of the crisis.
Plans by Flagler schools and the Health Department to minimize quarantines through rapid testing were upended by an emergency rule issued by the state on Friday. The rule appears to pre-empt the right of local authorities to use rapid testing for at least four days, and up to seven days, during which individuals must quarantine regardless.
The Flagler School Board will not buck the governor’s order against masking requirements, while schools will resume Tuesday under almost entirely normal conditions. But local physicians and the health department chief are concerned that the ongoing covid surge across the county will replicate in the schools.