Exponential growth of coronavirus infections had appeared in national numbers between late January and mid-March. That sort of growth now appears to be affecting Florida, where the Department of Health overnight announced 39 new cases, for a total of 100. On Friday, the department had announced 15 new cases. On Saturday it announced one death in Lee County and 25 new cases, none in Flagler County.
The absence of cases recorded in Flagler does not mean that the virus is not in the community. It merely means that no one who has been tested for it has tested positive locally, assuming anyone has been tested. The local health department, under orders from the state Health Department, is not disclosing how many people have been tested. Nor is it disclosing how many people are under monitoring for potential exposure in the community. Physicians who refer patients for testing and get a positive result are required by law to disclose the results to the department of health.
Governor DeSantis on Saturday ordered the expansion of the prohibition of “all visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, long-term care facilities and adult group homes to all visitors for the next 30 days,” according to the health department. In a break for drivers whose licenses are expiring, they will have an extra 30 days to do so. The recommendation to cancel all large gatherings targets gatherings of 250 people or more.
Local churches with large congregations, such as Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church, was continuing services as scheduled, but with communion “received in the hand only,” according to a church notice. Holy water has been removed from parish grounds. Similar measures apply through the Diocese of St. Augustine. Churches like Palm Coast’s First United Methodist have taken to quoting Isaiah (“Be careful and stay calm. Don’t fear, and don’t lose heart”). The church is offering services but cancelling all small-group and community meetings for two weeks. Like many churches around town, First Baptist Church was holding its Sunday services and making them available live on Facebook. (“I have missed this so much! Thank you so much for doing this. Not being able to drive and get out a lot I truly appreciate this,” one resident responded.) First Baptist Church’s sermon topic today: “A Pandemic Response.”
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic earlier this week.
“Cases of COVID-19 and instances of community spread are being reported in a growing number of states,” the Centers for Disease Control states in its situation summary today. Community spread means that infections are not being traced to travelers but to residents who are spreading the virus, usually unknowingly. The three states currently experiencing significant community spread are California, Washington and New York.
The virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days, with a median incubation period of four days, according to the latest study based on cases in China. Because of the lack of testing capacity in Florida, and the slow pace of testing when it is available, infections have been more rampant. The state is promising more readily available testing beginning Monday.
Exponential growth in infections is seen across the country. The first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed on Jan. 21. It took a week for the number to rise to five, with the numbers essentially doubling each week: 14 on Feb. 11, 25 on Feb. 18, then 59, 125 and 1,004 in the three weeks to March 10. In the five days between March 10 and today, the number has risen past 3,000, with 60 deaths so far across the country, and four in Florida. The virus has claimed 6,000 lives worldwide, with 162,000 cases so far, with 76,000 recoveries.
The New England Journal of Medicine study based on cases in China notes that the median age of infections is 47, with men affected more readily than women (the rate of infection for women was 41.9 percent), and 0.9 percent of patients being younger than 15. The most common symptoms were fever (*in 44 percent of patients) and cough (in 68 percent). But fever eventually developed in 89 percent of patients. Of all patients under study, 24 percent had a co-existing illness such as hypertension or obstructive pulmonary disease.
The numbers the Florida Department of Health is releasing continue to be sketchy: it continues to claim, as it has for days, that there are 221 pending test results, that 1,413 people have been “monitored” to date, that 365 people are currently being monitored–but the department won’t say where–and that 478 tests that have been administered have returned as negative. Extrapolating from the numbers the department is releasing, that means fewer than 700 Floridians have been tested–a disturbing indication of what likely lies ahead when testing does ramp up.
Adam Kucharski, a mathematician at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who uses math to understand outbreaks of diseases and has just published “The Rules of Contagion” in Britain, told The New York Times: “One signal to watch out for is if the first case in an area is a death or a severe case, because that suggests you had a lot of community transmission already. As a back of the envelope calculation, suppose the fatality rate for cases is about 1 percent, which is plausible. If you’ve got a death, then that person probably became ill about three weeks ago. That means you probably had about 100 cases three weeks ago, in reality. In that subsequent three weeks, that number could well have doubled, then doubled, then doubled again. So you’re currently looking at 500 cases, maybe a thousand cases.”
He also notes that fatality rates are deceptive when looked at whole–and when the coronavirus may have a much higher fatality rate among the elderly than it does on average.
Flagler is still zero because they won’t test. The Health Department is turning people down with symptoms saying because they aren’t severe enough they won’t test or because they don’t have a China connection they won’t test. Someone I know was told these exact statements even though they have all the symptoms and factors that may have led to potential exposure. They need to test people with minor symptoms so they know how wide spread this really is because I guarantee people in Flagler are positive. I would take the national numbers and multiply by 50 and that’s how many people are infected. Look at Italy. Look at the measures they took and how it is everywhere. Look at the US and look at people ignoring quarantine and doing whatever the heck they want and tell me this isn’t everywhere.
I absolutely agree!! I believe there are cases in flagler but there not testing like they should!
My neighbor had breathing problems today,she went to the Advent hospital in Flagler Beach. They didn’t test her, said she had bronchitis sand sent her home! She’s 65!! I’m upset from what she said to me. The doctor who treated her told her they weren’t set up to treat a lot of people, as in testing! And we have many younger people who are out and about, doing the bars and hanging out! I’m 62 and decided to isolate myself, as my 72 year old husband. How do we protect ourselves when the bar flies want to be out and about??? Flagler better be doing proactive measures before this gets out of control!! We have a lot of seniors here, retired, we still need to shop for groceries, or order them on line, but when you have young people hitting the clubs and bars, what are our county commissioners doing to keep this virus at bay????
I also know of two individuals, related who live in the same household, who have symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat), traveled domestically and have been ill for two weeks. They went to the Flagler Health Department last week and were told by the front desk person that the health department does not do primary care. These individuals never got past the front desk rep! At least an interview by a nurse is warranted. We are well past the question of have you traveled to China. This is the organization that is supposed to be heading up the county’s response to cases? Come on people, you have to do better than this. The Flagler DOH is putting us all at risk.
Percy's mother says
ALWAYS call FIRST instead of just showing up at a front desk healthcare facility.
Call first to find out what the current policy is for persons who are sick and/or exhibiting symptoms which might equate to COVID-19 or flu.
No one wants sick individuals sitting in waiting rooms contaminating everyone and everything.
CALL FIRST. DON’T JUST SHOW UP. FIND OUT WHAT THE CURRENT POLICY IS FIRST.
William Moya says
O.k., I get, Desantis (letsnotmonkeythisup), wants to comply with Trump’s orders to keep the numbers down.
There you go. It’s Trump’s fault. Can’t think of anything else to say so just say that.
Ben Dover says
William , DeSantis has spread this virus far and wide , allowing 600.000 bikers and spring breakers in our back yard all drinking and partying , not taking any precautions to prevent this , they will spread it allover our area , then go spread it across this country and Canada , you could not have spread this thing any better if you purposely tried to spread it ,, Trump said earlier last week he was looking out for his friends in the Hotel Industry, and I`m sure DeSantis was listening , it was the most irresponsible idiotic gotdamn thing these ignorant Rethuglican morons have ever done , well there was going to war with Afghanistan and Iraq when it was Saudi Arabia and the Bush administration that attacked us on 9/11 , but this could prove to be as bad as that.
This will get thousands of times worse if people don’t stay out of exposure. Everyone should be self quarantined to avoid being infected and should they be infected , preventing from spreading it around. The initial problem was the virus itself getting to the US and now in Florida but the immediate problem is the spread by those who have no idea they have been infected. And yes, everyone needs to be tested regardless if they meet the already outdated criteria.
Sad Times says
For this to happen (self quarantine)…our local government must lead!
Must convey the process and procedures that all citizens of Flagler county and Palm Coast ….must follow…for our safety!
Covid-19 IS in Flagler, it just hasn’t been identified due to lack of testing. Countries that have been proactive with testing and locking down public access plus their borders have had very little infections. Flagler infections will end up to be exponential just like the rest of this country. Poor planning and very poor response to a national emergency.
This is an absoulute tradgedy unfolding in Flagler County right before our eyes!! Our leadership is letting us down and will soon lead us to sickness and eventually death by keeping testing away and keeping results under wraps.
The blood will be on the ends of the incompetant! Disgusting hiw they treat the residents of Flagler County! They deny the sick testing! They deny the truth about testing!
SHAME SHAME SHAME ! THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!
Sherriff Staley should follow the lead of sherriff Chitwood of Volusia County and protect our residents by giving us the numbers of suspected cases in Flagler. Names and addresses do not have to be given but how many cases are suspected and being monitored in the county.
I agree. He took a stance on this issue and didn’t it against the governments wishes. I believe Staly will do the same.
Wait till all our students from the area arrive home from Miami spring break.
These reckless , selfish, self centered , inconsiderate little jerks are out partying and spreading infection without a single care for anyone else. SHAME
Volusia is now restricting gatherings of 100 or more during Bike Week. Meanwhile they all ride up to Flagler Beach with no restrictions putting every resident at risk. No way will I enter any restaurant/bar facility there.
The stupidity is real says
With cases popping up all over the State, cases in Volusia County and other surrounding counties youre either pretty damn naive or stupid if you think there arent any in Flagler County. The Florida Dept of Health should be ashamed of themselves for not reporting accurate numbers and getting the info out to the public. That causes one of 2 things to happen, either people panic and hysteria sets in because of the unknown and people not being able to be prepared or more proactive or you cause a mass amount of people to be too comfortable and not take anything serious which poses a risk to countless others. People are not staying just in Flagler County so there is definitely the possibility of any one contracting it unknowingly and bringing it back into the county just as there is with people in the surrounding counties bringing it in because they arent just staying in their county. Hell how many people have to work in other counties because Flagler County mainly only offers minimum wage, retail, food service or customer service type employment so just think how many people are in and out of the county daily. Not everyone that has it or contracted it has shown severe symptoms, not everyone has traveled or been in contact with others that have traveled so Flagler Health Dept and Advent Health needs to stop turning people away from being tested that are showing any symptoms based on the initial questionaire regarding travel. We are and have been past that phase of this pandemic for a few weeks now. It is spreading through communities like wild fire due to the ignorance of the Florida Dept of Health, the Health Depts and other health care facilities still continuing and seem to be stuck on the initial protocol of only testing due to travel and unfortunately the numbers will continue to rise exponentially because the Dept of Health has not been as procative as they should have been, they havent allowed disclosure of vital information and they havent tested many that should have been. Turning just one person away just because they havent travelled is beyond stupid, now that one person thinks they arent a risk to others, goes to the store, the mall, pretty much anywhere there are groups of people and spreads it to them then they spread and so on all unknowingly because of an outdated (outdated once it started spreading throughout the country, as soon as the first case popped up that hadnt travelled or been in contact with someone that travelled) protocol. Pretty damn ignorant and stupid FDOH. The people in the state need to stand up and demand FDOH do better, demand the Governor and their local officials to do better. If you are ill and have any symptoms, if you have been to the health dept or hospital and have been turned away.. PLEASE DO NOT assume you arent a risk or dont have it, please quarantine yourself just in case, at least have some common sense especially when the FDOH doesnt have any. As the saying goes Common Sense is Not Common.
David Schaefer says
What do you expect from Flagler County same old crap as usual…………
Big boy says
This would you old be a perfect time for the city of palm coast and surrounding communities to tell the residents to bag there garbage, as not to chance infecting the people that service their communities.
Check with your Primary Care doctor…he will send you to the County Health Dept for testing if he thinks you have the symptoms.
Quit listening to rumors and hope for more testing locations…like trump and pence promised!
“The testing is beeeutiful!”
Name (required) says
A very reliable source within local advent health organization has confirmed a case at the advent hospital Flagler, currently in ICU. time to get updates folks, nobody is getting any info, at least not very fast. You think that 100k bikers in Volusia county and Flagler county for the past week won’t yield some spread. Unsettling. All of it.