Flagler County’s Covid-19 cases increased to four this morning, the new case affecting a 68-year-old man who had recently traveled to Europe.
Florida’s total number of coronavirus infections went past 1,400, one of them a prison employee at the state prison in Ocala. The disease is affecting men more than women, by a difference of 57 to 42 percent, according to the Florida Department of Health (the department states that 1 percent of cases’ gender is unknown). Cases in the United States crossed 50,000 today, with 606 deaths.
The first Flagler County case to make headlines, that of Cynthia Corventino, a Volusia County resident whose children attend school in Flagler County, is reaching resolution: Corventino told WNZF she was released from AdventHealth Palm Coast Monday evening. But, she said, “the Health Department called this morning, they informed me that Vincent, my oldest son, has tested positive as well.” The boy, a student at Flagler Palm Coast High School involved with the Young Republicans and the Junior ROTC program was “on the phone right now calling other folks, letting them know they’ve potentially been exposed.”
Corventino said she was concerned for other members of her family, but the department had “refused to test my daughter or my next-door neighbor.” Chances of exposure at school would have been low since school let out almost two weeks ago (Thursday), with no reported cases affecting students yet, let alone any cases traced back to contact at school. The youngest individual affected so far in Flagler is a 45-year-old police officer in Flagler Beach. (The Volusia County Health Department is managing the investigation of the Corsentino cases.)
Tuesday was proving to be a day of mixed signals, with resilience and fortitude competing with challenges and more dispiriting numbers as various segments of society were rapidly adapting to life under different degrees of restrictions and still often unclear expectations. Other segments of society and government, starting with the president, were looking possibly to restart the economy and lift some of the more stringent restrictions.
The Flagler County school district on Monday started its daily breakfast and lunch distribution at four school sites (Bunnell Elementary, Indian Trails Middle, Wadsworth Elementary/Buddy Taylor Middle and FPC), relieving significant pressure on families whose children depend on school meals. The program is offered to all children 18 and younger, not just to schoolchildren or homeschooled children.
Food and Nutrition Services Director Angela Bush announced a plan to offer a few mobile feeding spots in addition to our school-based sites, thus reducing hardships on families that may not have the means to make it to one of the four school sites.
Two buses will serve four other areas in Flagler County beginning Wednesday. One bus will be at Hidden Trails Community Center from 10 to 10:30 a.m., then at Haw Creek Community Center from 11 to 11:30 a.m. The second bus will be at Carver Gym in Bunnell from 10 to 10:30 a.m., and at the Espanola Community Center from 11 to 11:30 a.m.
The meals are prepared by school staff (see the picture above) in a “grab and go” form for no cost to the student. They are available on weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. (Questions? Contact Flagler Schools Food Services at 386-437-7526, ext. 1155.)
Today the district was also issuing computers or tablets to students from 0 a.m. to 6 p.m. ahead of next week’s kick-off of weeks of remote education. The devices were being distributed at the same four schools distributing meals. “During these uncertain times, we can not guarantee additional dates will be available for device pick-up,” the district stated. “We will have staff ready to help make this drive-thru device pick-up go as smoothly as possible at each site.”
For families who can’t afford home WiFi, Spectrum is offering free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. (To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.) AT&T and Comcast are also both offering free internet for students in need. Flagler County Schools has partnered with T-mobile and Sprint to provide hotspots for home use, but with limited supplies. (Complete this form to request a hotspot device.)
The Flagler Beach City Commission was not altering its plan to hold a city commission meeting on Thursday, when two newly elected members, Deborah Phillips and Ken Bryan are to be sworn in.
Commissioners today were smarting from learning only from FlaglerLive Monday evening that a Flagler Beach police officer had tested positive for Covid-19. There was no additional information about the condition of City Manager Larry Newsom, who has been in self-isolation and was not returning calls. “I decided I’d leave him alone until tomorrow,” Commissioner Jane Mealy said.
Days earlier he’d issued commissioners and city staff a “succession list” indicating who would be in charge in his absence, with Fire Chief Bobby Pace, Police Chief Matt Doughney, City Clerk Penny Overstreet and Finance Director Kathleen Doyle listed, in that order.
County government closed public access to the Government Services Building on Monday, with the Tax Collector continuing to provide business through its walk-up window, and allowing any of the government agencies within to use the window as well. “For the time being employees will continue to work in the building after they have been screened,” County Administrator Jerry Cameron told county commissioners in a memo Monday. “This means they will be asked the screening questions, have their temperature taken and be given a wristband to show they are cleared for the day.”
The county is working toward holding its County Commission meeting on April 6 virtually, Cameron told commissioners.
Today the county’s economic development office launched FlaglerOpen4.biz, enabling local businesses to create a live listing of services for residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. By completing a survey at the site, businesses can provide information about availability and services to the public in a mapped format that consumers can then navigate.
“We need to work together to keep our economy healthy and maintain our quality of life,” said Kat Friel, economic development manager. “We are asking everyone to share this information, because this is more than a sustainability tool. It’s a platform to springboard recovery.” Flagler County’s GIS team worked with Friel and her business partners at the Chamber and the tourism office to devise a plan to get business information to the public.
The Florida National Guard has 1,147 Guardsmen on active duty in support of the state’s emergency response, operating two Community Based Testing Sites that have administered 4,707 sample collections to date. The C.B. Smith Park CBTS in Broward County has administered 2,967 sample collections since operations began there last week. The Hard Rock Stadium CBTS in Miami-Dade county has administered 1,740 sample collections since operations began this week. The Orange County Convention Center CBTS in Orange county is projected to open Wednesday.
National Guards members are also assiting with screenings at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Miami International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Jacksonville International Airport, and Tampa International Airport.
President Trump on Tuesday said Tuesday he “would love to have the country opened up, and just raring to go, by Easter,” in 19 days, and said “We can socially distance ourselves and go to work.” New York cases were doubling every three days, leading New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ridicule the federal government’s dispatch of 400 ventilators. “What are we going to do with 400 ventilators when we need 30,000 ventilators?” the governor, whose state is now the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, said. There are more than 13,000 Covid-19 cases in New York City alone, and 125 deaths.
Fpc student says
Don’t test, keep those numbers low. Mean while in other countries, Germany is testing 160,000 a week, Singapore and South Korea are also aggressively testing. These countries also have been able to keep their infection and mortality rates low. While we, who are living in “the greatest country” are getting denied testing. When will we demand better?
Its a good thing they closed the schools. How can someone be a Volusia County resident have kids in Flagler schools?
Frank Dickert says
Good question for the School Superintendent
I want to know the answer to that as well
Please heed the advice of Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and other medical professionals — not these paid for suits in DC who are okay with old people dying if it’ll help “stimulate the economy.”
Some of the county roads in bunnell the only internet available is hughes net.
Very sad that taxpayers have to feed all the kids under 18 at school, even when there is no school. I grew up dirt poor, and we brown bagged lunch, usually peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or we went hungry. America is turning into the land of the free. Just hold your hand out and someone will put something into it, for free. Not a good learning curve, knowing that free everything is just around the corner. But, nothing is free, taxpayer pay.
Yes i went to school hunrey. Was sick alot.noe paying the consequinses.its good the kids are getting fed.we dont need sick kids.think of it as your gift to them.im sure they r thankful. They r feeding the seniors as well. I hope..
Feeding students is absolutely something taxes should cover. If you actually went hungry in your life, you shouldn’t wish other people to go through the same.
Kids SHOULD be able to just put their hands out if they are hungry, and every capable adult should feel a sense of responsibility to make sure they get the food they need. My family struggled when I was a kid, as well. The lesson that I learned from it, though, is that there are other people out there just like me, and I will not turn my head if they need something like people did to me. Nor will I look down my nose at anyone who is struggling. Some of us have forgotten what it is like, but I didn’t. If taxes shouldn’t go to feed hungry kids in the middle of a pandemic, then what? Unbelievable. Besides, the government supplies those meals to the schools for every day that they are open. If school is closed, then the food can be distributed to eat at home without spending any precious taxpayer dollars. The families who need those meals are taxpayers, as well, anyway. So, I wish that people would stop using the term “taxpayers,” which suggests that all tax paying citizens would agree. Just say it like it is, and admit that you feel that YOUR tax dollars should not go to the help those less fortunate or in a hardship. Please be more considerate of those in need and stop generalizing from a standpoint of superiority. “They” are people we know but don’t know are struggling, not a completely different group of citizens than everyone else. Many of these kids’ parents work very hard and long hours, and with this virus, it is even harder to make ends meet. Nobody says anyone expects things for free. Hopefully the lesson learned is that helping each other in times of crisis can ensure that we are all okay in the end. Now can somebody please spare a square? Everyone hoarded all the tp in town. 😂
Gary R says
I bet if there was a GoFundMe page just for children meals it would generate more money then using taxpayers money.