Last Updated: Monday, 12:18 p.m.
Flagler County’s confirmed cases of Covid-19 rose to 13 as Florida’s reached 5,473 on Monday, now exceeding Washington State, an earlier hot spot in the coronavirus emergency, with 63 deaths attributed to the disease in the state. Fifty-two of Florida’s 67 counties have confirmed Covid cases.
On Sunday, President Trump abandoned his earlier projection that social distancing could end by Easter–which falls on April 12 this year–and extended the directive through the end of April, raising the possibility that it could be June 1 before the country is well on our way to recovery.”
“During this period, it’s very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines. Have to follow the guidelines,” Trump said from the Rose Garden Sunday. “Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread.” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said in a television appearance that he’d raised the prospect to the president of 200,000 Americans dying of the disease. Trump also revealed that a close friend of his was infected and quickly went into a coma. He said if nothing was done, up to 2.2 million Americans could die.
The extension is likely to lead governors, state and public health agencies across the country to follow suit, making it more likely than not that in-person school will not resume in Florida at least until May, and possibly not again until after summer. Flagler County schools’ 13,000 students returned to class this morning, but from home, through the school district’s virtual networks, as teachers taught live by video and students sat home listening, watching and interacting.
Eight of Flagler County’s cases affect Palm Coast residents. Bunnell has its first case. Flagler Beach has at least one case. Others are in unincorporated Flagler, with one case affecting a non-resident. One of the infected individuals is a 17-year-old girl who’d had previous contact with a confirmed Covid case. That is the youngest person affected in Flagler, though a Flagler Palm Coast High School student has also been infected, according to his mother, but is not counted among Flagler’s numbers because he lives in Volusia County.
Despite the rising numbers, Flagler County continues to be among the counties where testing has lagged, with a mere 24 tests conducted at AdventHealth Palm Coast–and two positives there, one of them affecting a Volusia County resident who had been treated there but has since been released–and 178 tests conducted in total, many of them through the Flagler Department of Health. Even in Miami Dade and Broward counties the two counties heaviest-hit by coronavirus, only 20,000 tests have been conducted in both by Monday, a rate below 400 per 100,000. On March 26, New York’s rate was 627 per 100,000 and rising fast. Almost 44,000 people had been tested across Florida by Sunday morning, according to the Florida Health Department.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday announced the likely arrival next week of a limited number of “rapid tests” that could produce a result within hours as opposed to four to six days. He said he was hoping to have 1,000 rapid tests delivered to the state.
The governor barred access to his briefing Saturday to Mary Ellen Klas, a reporter who covers the state capital for the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald, after Klas had requested that the governor allow questions to be asked through Zoom-like video conferencing systems. Klas tends to ask more challenging questions at the governor’s briefing, and her exclusion may have been motivated by the governor’s desire not to face difficult questions. “The governor’s office continues to hold briefings that run counter to the recommended 6-foot-rule that public health experts say is necessary for social distancing,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“On Twitter,” the paper continued, “Klas said a reporter for the News Service of Florida was told that he would be shut out as well if he insisted that Klas be allowed to cover the press conference in person. She posted a video of the DeSantis spokeswoman, Meredith Beatrice, explain that Klas could view the press conference on a state-sponsored public affairs media service that live streams state government events.”
At the briefing, DeSantis announced the creation of an Interstate 95 checkpoint on Florida’s northern border to screen motorists traveling from the New York City area, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, after ordering a similar check-point at the west end of the state for travelers from Louisiana.
On Sunday, a worker at a South Florida juvenile-justice facility has tested positive for COVID-19, and seven Florida Department of Corrections employees who work at separate facilities across the state have tested positive. Outbreaks in prisons and jails are especially difficult to contain. One federal inmate in a prison in Louisiana has died as a flattening curve continues to elude communities across the country: on Saturday alone, more than 21,000 cases–almost a sixth of the total–were announced. Total number of cases Sunday afternoon were at 136,000, and expected to reach 150,000 before Monday–almost twice as many as in China, where the pandemic originated.
DeSantis late this week shut down vacation rentals across the state for two weeks but continues to resist any move toward a more systematic, across-the-board lockdown, saying he was likelier to break down the state’s counties into three categories that would reflect the degree of infection in each.
The I-95 checkpoint is an expansion of screenings already underway at certain Florida airports aimed at people coming from the tri-state area around New York City, one of the nation’s “hot spots” for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. Florida officials on Saturday were operating a checkpoint on Interstate 10 west of Pensacola, with all non-commercial motorists detoured to a vehicle weigh station where license plates and driver’s licenses were checked and motorists were asked about their travels.
“Initially I was concerned about doing this because I don’t want there to be a backup,” DeSantis told reporters at Saturday’s press conference. “But they’re doing it in a great way where the trucks are going through. We’re not worried about that. We’re just worried about the people fleeing some of those areas.”
DeSantis also used Saturday’s press conference at the Capitol to announce that Florida is working to make a hydroxychloroquine, a low-cost generic malaria drug, available to hospital systems in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange and Hillsborough counties.
“I’m not a doctor. I’m not telling anyone to take it or not take it,” DeSantis said. “But I do believe in the idea of a right to try. If somebody is really in bad shape and there is no other treatment available and the doctor believes this is something that could be helpful, then we want that patient to have access to that.”
The governor’s staff said the hospital systems have requested the drug, which President Donald Trump recently touted as a possible COVID-19 cure. Federal health officials have said more study is needed on the efficacy of the drug as a treatment for COVID-19.
Trump, a close ally of DeSantis, told reporters Saturday that he was considering a two-week quarantine for the northern states. But he backed off the proposal subsequently. Later, the Centers for Disease Control issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut–but not Louisiana. “CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately,” the CDC said. “This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.” CDC left the implementation of the advisory to the “full discretion” of the governors of the three states affected.
In an effort to deter travel from New York City, the Florida National Guard and public health officials have been screening travelers on flights from the metropolitan area coming into airports in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Palm Beach, as well as Southwest Florida.
Saying the screening is working, DeSantis told reporters that a person whose symptoms of COVID-19 had abated was showing signs of the respiratory disease again, following a flight Friday from New York to Jacksonville.
“He was intercepted when he came to the checkpoint and he was diverted to go a hospital,” DeSantis said. “That’s something I think helps protect Floridians.” The individual and people that were seated near him on the plane are now being treated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DeSantis’ aides said. The name of the airline and the hospital where the individual was taken were not released.
DeSantis continues to face criticism from Democrats and local officials for not issuing a statewide stay-in-place order. He said his goal in targeting certain travelers is to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, an effort health officials call “flattening the curve” of the disease. “I think it’s in everybody’s interest that we deal with the spread that we have here now, try to blunt it, flatten the curve, but we don’t allow importing new infections,” the governor said.
Asked about other access points for motorists — such as U.S. 1 and the Amtrak Auto Train, which stops in Sanford — DeSantis said I-95 is the “natural one” for motorists from the Northeast. “I think having the (Interstate) 10 and (Interstate) 95 is good, that provides the protection,” DeSantis said. It is unclear how travelers wise to the decision and taking any one of many alternate routes would be monitored.
At the Department of Corrections, agency officials would not release the positions held by the seven infected prison workers, but in a statement said the employees either worked for the corrections department or one of its contractors at five prisons and two probation offices.
The staffers work at Century Correctional Institute in Escambia County; Everglades Correctional Institution in Miami-Dade County; Florida Women’s Reception Center and Marion Correctional Institution, both in Ocala; Zephyrhills Correctional Institution in Pasco County; and community corrections regional offices in Lake Butler and West Palm Beach. The employees will not return to work until they have been cleared by health officials, the agency said.
An investigation is underway to identify inmates and staff who may need to go into isolation after coming into close contact with the employees infected with the highly contagious virus, officials said in the statement.
While the number of people exposed to the employees is unknown, the department confirmed Tuesday that three workers at the Marion Correctional Institution have been placed in self-isolation after being exposed by an infected employee there.
There are no confirmed coronavirus cases within the inmate population as of 9 a.m. Friday, officials said.
Any inmates who show COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in contact with an employee who tested positive for the virus will be placed in medical isolation, according to the department. Symptomatic inmates will be isolated in their dormitories until they are medically cleared, and local health officials will determine whether those inmates need to be tested, corrections officials said.
A corrections department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for information about how many inmates or workers have been tested statewide.
But corrections officials said they are working with the Florida Department of Health to monitor and contain potential outbreaks in the prison system, which has 143 facilities, more than 23,000 employees and roughly 96,000 inmates — including thousands of elderly offenders.
To prevent the virus from spreading, the department has suspended face-to-face inmate visitations, restricted the intake of county jail inmates and started screening anyone who enters a correctional institution.
Only employees who are considered “essential” are allowed to come to work, the department said.
As of Thursday, essential employees included some educators who have been asked to “provide as much education programming as possible” while programs are temporarily adjusted, according to a memo obtained by The News Service of Florida. During a press conference Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis did not appear to have a full grasp of the type of work flexibility offered to corrections employees with COVID-19 symptoms.
When asked by reporters if it was reasonable to require symptomatic corrections workers to use their paid time off to self-quarantine, DeSantis said, “I don’t know if those reports are true.”
The employee of the Broward Youth Treatment Center was confirmed Friday as having the highly contagious disease. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice did not specify the employee’s job duties or details such as the employee’s age or gender.
A news release from the department said the employee has been off work for five days and will not return “until a full recovery is documented by a medical professional. DJJ is working closely with the local county health department to determine next steps for screening staff and the youth at the program.”
The Broward Youth Treatment Center has 27 youths in its program, and parents and guardians have been notified about the employee testing positive, the Department of Juvenile Justice said. All of the youths and other staff members were asymptomatic as of Sunday morning, and additional teens are not being admitted to the program.
The Pembroke Pines facility, in part, provides substance-abuse and mental-health treatment services to boys ages 13 to 18. The facility is operated by a contractor, Youth Opportunity, which also runs other juvenile-justice facilities in the state, according to information on the Youth Opportunity website.
–News Service of Florida and FlaglerLive
By the Numbers, As of Sunday:
— 4,246: Total number of confirmed cases.
— 483: Increase in cases from a Saturday morning count.
— 56: Deaths of Florida residents.
— 59: Cases in long-term care facilities.
— 21: Cases in long-term care facilities in Broward County.
— 18: Cases in long-term care facilities in Duval County.
— 6: Cases in long-term care facilities in Baker County.
— 7: Overall number of cases in Baker County.
— 50: Counties with confirmed cases.
— 17: Counties without any confirmed cases.
— 1,192: Cases in Miami-Dade County, the largest number in the state.
— 6: Counties with one case each (Bradford, Gadsden, Hendry, Suwannee, Washington and Jackson).
Source: Florida Department of Health
So now the Gov. Ron DeSantis plays God , balances between Money and Lives, decides who lives who dies. What a World ….
one given to forebodings and predictions of impending calamity says
Getting worse by the minute….
According to models and projections,
April will be a public health catastrophe unlike anything in modern memory,
as tens of thousands of Americans are likely to die from the coronavirus in the coming weeks, a consequence of American leaders failing to heed the lessons learned in other countries about the value and success of taking drastic steps.
The number of confirmed cases has grown by almost 20,000 per day in the last three days alone.
The number of new cases will rise even more quickly in the next few weeks, as will the number of deaths.
“No state, no metro area will be spared”
Dr. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
David S. says
DeSantis 100 pure Trumpee………..
Why isn’t our local government begging, cajoling, demanding more test kits? Instead they mention “it gets to be expensive, “ as an excuse. We’re talking about human life here! What in God’s name do we need to do here in Palm Coast to get these tests? Clearly whatever that is, is not being done. They’re doing it in other counties. The mayor should be contacting Tallahassee incessantly to advocate for us. All in charge keep throwing the ball to the next in line. What a complete disgrace.
Everyone, please call and email the governor and do it for our “leaders” who cannot seem to get the job done.
Wait a second, if we have 5,000 tests than why have only 148 been tested? If they do not test anyone who needs one or better yet, everyone, this will continue to spread. What are they saving them for? The Feds or the governor are not going to send us more tests when we’re not even close to using the ones we have. The woman with a 104 degree temp was told to stay home. FYI to those not in the medical field, a 104 temperature is an emergency and as such requires an ED visit. In Flagler county do we have to have eaten a bat in Wuhan to meet criteria to be tested? This is not going down right at all. The police and firefighters and medical staff are put in harms way constantly because no ones getting tested. We citizens are not safe going to the grocery store not to mention those working there. USE THE DARN TESTS FLAGLER COUNTY!!
I am very frustrated when they report the positive cases, especially in Flagler. We do not actually know the exact number being we don’t have enough tests. People might take it more seriously if they knew this.
Ben Dover says
I told everyone on here that Florida cases were going to explode, and they have , but its only the beginning , because I think there are 157.000 people in Palm Coast alone , and our county only received 100 tests , 600.000 bikers , and God only knows how many Spring Breakers, then you had Golf tournaments with packed galleries , we are going to soon be the Epicenter of this virus, it`s going to get scarier by the day , I myself had a melt down in home depot the other day , my g/f called and paid for a new toilet for us to pick up , I guess because a woman called, the store thought perfect time for them to try and unload this toilet in a box that the forks of the forklift tore the bottom out of , I worked the dock at Sea Ray Boats , Yellow , the trucking company was famous for bringing us skids of toilets with the bottom boxes skewed like this , 9 out of 10 times the toilets had damage, some cracks the human eye could not see , the damage was only discovered once installed and water tested ,oh my g/f had cancer , her immune system was weakened by the chemo and radiation, which is why she paid over the phone for a quick in and out pick up , but we got stuck in Return lines, they had two very slow girls taking their sweet time doing returns , we werent there for returns, but had to wait just the same , then the toilet we were picking up was a return in itself , and they took their sweet time getting another up to the front , mind you this was supposed to be they bring it out to us for curb pick up, I got angry at the destroyed box , the fact that we paid for this so my g/f wouldnt have to be exposed to a bunch of people , then the two very slow moving girls decided to walk out to front of store and ignore everyone in line and laugh about it , they told us we couldnt take the toilet that was brought up to replace the garbage they tried pawning off on my g/f in the first place until they checked her ID, but then they disappeared out front , some pint sized putz came in the store butting his nose into my business not knowing why I was pissed, one of them guys with little man syndrome, trying to impress the woman with him, he`s gotdamned lucky he didnt get his clock cleaned for sticking his nose in where it didn`t belong , another clerk from some other dept finally showed up ,got between us , asked if id like to talk to a manager ,I said I did , then one of the 2 girls came back and suddenly it was fine for us to take the toilet without ID , they didnt want a manager seeing the first toilet they tried to stick my g/f with , or the hassles we had just trying to get the replacement one out of the store , things like this are going to get much worse when the hoarding continues and people cant find food and we are surrounded by infected people ,angers will flare I admit maybe I could of handled it better ,But been through that cancer hell three other times in my life losing my family members to it , and Ill be damned if my g/f who fought and beat cancer was going to have some idiots at a store not doing their jobs right, get her infected with this virus, and Im sure if a man had called and paid for a toilet, I guarantee you they wouldnt have brought that ragged POS up front for him to take , and that pissed me off ,I went to the toilet aisle and there were others there with no damage at all , the other thing was we specifically paid for pick up so she wouldnt be exposed to long lines with her weak immune system, I myself didnt know she did it that way, I met her there and thought I was going in to get it and pay for it , so now they told her she had to come in and show ID, them two girls working the returns dept should of been fired , I think most working in stores are brave and deserve respect and hazard pay , but not these two , not when you are the problem , plus Home Depot needs specific people doing returns and others for pick ups , you shouldnt have to wait in long lines for returns to pick up an item you already paid for , but this is Floriduh
So, do the math. If Florida conducted almost 44,000 tests (as of this writing) and almost 10% of those tested show positive, what happens when you test the entire state of 21 million people at a 10% possible infection rate? It’s a lot of people. There is a reason for this slow roll out of testing–and the CDC is garbage only goes so far (as does the FDA red tape for test kits). The more people you test, the more you show it’s everywhere already. It’s highly contagious. A sneeze-field is upwards of 26 feet if not stopped by an elbow, tissue, or hand. This virus lingers up to 3 hours in the air. Do you think air is stationary? Imagine, someone sneezes, they don’t cover their mouth or nose, the virus spews 26 feet, lingers in the air for up to 3 hours, and is carried a marginal distance with the wind. The particulates land on whatever is around in that radius and then lives for days depending on the surface. The Surgeon General was wrong, masks do help, why do you think Asians wear them all the time? For their help, for protection from smog, smoke, bacteria, viruses, and when sick out of respect for others.
Anyone can have a underlying health condition and not know it–they are called silent killers for a reason. You don’t know you have them until you start experiencing symptoms of them and by then, you are well into the disease. So all these “healthy” people can have autoimmune conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on, and not know they have something wrong with them. Age doesn’t matter. Even kids can have these conditions if their genes dealt them a bad hand. People think age=wellness. My mother-in-law, near 80, is healthier than a lot of 20 year old’s I know.
Bottom line they are testing the wrong people. The people that are obviously sick, treat them as though they have the disease. They need to test the people that are mildly ill and use that as their baseline. It’s basic statistics and probability. Now that you’ve tested X amount of very unhealthy people, start testing people that are showing no to mild or moderate symptoms. They are the pieces that form your baseline and then you can extrapolate an approximate number of people infected in a community. This will go a long way into opening businesses back up or easing social distancing.
Wouldn’t pointing out that “Asians wear them all the time” be a racist statement, not unlike Chinese Virus, or Cineze food? Just asking as it gets confusing.
Missing what you mean. Asian is the politically correct term and they were pointing out an observation. Maybe lighten up on the caffeine.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Thank you Flagler Live and Pierre for always keeping us up to date on vital issues of the day. I am glad Trump changed his tune and hope our governor will follow suit as he has been a little lax and careless in the past few days,
The striking thing about the way Trump treats Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer is how it contrasts with his praise for Florida’s Ron DeSantis, whose refusal to close beaches or give a statewide stay-at-home order has public health experts apoplectic. Florida is on the same exponential growth path as NY now. Only we don’t have a Gov. Cuomo fighting for us.
You said it all…..what the hell is wrong with desantis? So many from Flagler probably infectious now but not testing and no leadership is going to take many lives in our county…..what a shame when the only way to put this on hold or flatten the curve or give them time to come up with a possible cure is to keep the virus from spreading and people do not do that by milling about and in stores, etc. We need to take heed because we have no one to lead us in this battle… we need quick tests now.
I was told by someone that it is taking between 5-8 days to receive covid19 test results. That concerns me. Was wondering FlaglerLive if someone on your staff could look into this?
Flagler Health Department Director Bob Snyder told us on March 22 that the turnaround time for a test from one of the three public health labs in the state was 24 to 48 hours, and four to five days from private labs.
Born and Raised Here says
How many are here from the Epic Center of New York ?
I heard 2.
1,500 NEW Cases today alone,
and ya’ll worried about certain colored license plates
Be my guest and go out and question each and every one of those drivers
Thanks for your service.
I’ll stay home
Rob Jr says
“Flagler County continues to be among the counties where testing has lagged, with a mere 24 tests conducted…..and 143 tests conducted in total…”
I heard someone say “anyone who wants a test can get a test”.
What he didn’t say was WHEN.
Is getting a test like getting that cheaper, better health care insurance and lower prescription prices?
Concerned Citizen says
Our “Esteemed” County Officials have been dishonest from day one. They don’t want to release the actual numbers because of the economic impact it would have. All of them have been bought and paid for a long time ago by local interests like Hammock Beach Resort.
I for one am extremely frustrated with the counties lack of transparency and action. And it will come back to haunt them. Flagler County has quite a large senior population and all have been at risk and will continue to be for months.
Sunday a county spokesperson was on the radio whinning about how they are frustrated with us that we are angry about lack of relase on cases. I’m so sorry you are frustrated we are onto you for being dishonest. Lives are at stake here. And if that aggrevates you then go find other work so your feelings don’t get hurt. We are tired of being lied to.
W are just getting started on this. I see the bulk of folks ignoring CDC guidelines and doing whatever they want. Case in point whole families in Walmart. Why does a who family need to go shopping right now? Leave someone at home with the kids then get your essentials and go home. Why expose your children when not needed just so they can go out.
The quicker we cooperate the quicker we can slow this down. And save lives in the process. It’s not pleasant but the restricitions work.
Lastly if we don’t do it willingly then we risk it being mandated. Then you all will really have somethng to raise hell about.
Pissed in PC says
Just remember Trump said I like low numbers except when he compares his ratings to the Bachelor finale. No mass testing equals low numbers. 110,000 citizens of Flagler and 200 tests allocated. Tells you all we need to know about our county government. Hey Joe Mullins why you so quiet lately instead of screaming for tests. Oh yeah that’s right, another red hat cult member.
KIND OF RIDICULOUS THAT FLAGLER IS NOT TESTING PEOPLE. PRESIDENT IS ON NOW SAYING THEY ARE TESTING ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE A DAY. NOT HERE! PLAYING WITH 🔥
David Schaefer says
Another daily lie by Trump. Hospitals are loaded full in Jax just was up there Saturday could not get admitted….
John doe says
What will it take to get the shelter in place order here? People are still out and about business as usual taking care of non essentials. Desantis needs to pull his head out of Trumps rump and get to work.
David S. says
Never will happen. I hope people will remember this when election time comes up……..
Debra lee says
Thank you…President Moron takes no responsibility…Hes the reason things are out of control…Hes incompetent and his supporters are so stupid and blinded by his lies after lies.Thats why there are so many stupid people walking around like its a beautiful day.Desantis is another one…hes so far up the morons A** its sickening
Pissed in PC says
Thank you for saying that! This county is full of Trump loving, selfish, entitled cult members that think rules and laws don’t apply to them. Best thing we can do is make sure none of these incompetent boobs in government don’t get re-elected.
David Schaefer says
When you have a five year old running the government this is what you get. I have always said hire a clown you get a circus …..