Until a few days ago Flagler County could point to its coronavirus numbers and claim that the spike that’s been overtaking Florida as it has reopened had not spread locally.
That’s no longer the case. After rising by 20 cases last week, the highest total since the end of May, Flagler County has recorded another 26 Covid-19 infections in the first four days of this week. It’s done so even though testing has slowed significantly.
“A lot of it is because it’s spreading more rapidly, some folks have gotten less serious or less concerned about it,” Jonathan Lord, Flagler County’s emergency management chief, said today. “There seems to be more people that are not wearing a mask than there had been a few weeks ago, and there seems to be less people concerned about lining up next to the next person, social distancing.”
While the spread of Covid-19 has accelerated, Lord said, “the big concern we would have is tied to health care impacts, which have not been horrible to this point.” As of today, AdventHealth Palm Coast was reporting through the Agency for Health Care Administration that it had six of 112 beds available, and three ICU beds available, out of 18, though Lord cautions that bed capacity can change at the hospital based on the way it can reclassify them: a hospital executive earlier in the emergency described plans that could readily expand the hospital’s ICU capacity if needed.
Florida today reported its single-highest one-day total for Tuesday, with 5,500 new cases, again breaking a record for the seventh or eighth time in the last two weeks. Well over a third of Florida’s total cases since the pandemic began in late February have been recorded in the last two weeks. Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly blamed the spike on increased testing. But Florida is still testing far fewer people than, say, New York, yet Florida has recorded 20,000 new cases in five days, while New York recorded 3,200.
“Our state seems to be the banner holder currently right now,” Lord said.
Just as Florida had imposed a 14-day quarantine requirement on all visitors from hot spots such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut earlier in the pandemic, today New York, New Jersey and Connecticut reversed roles and announced 14-day quarantine requirements on all visitors from Florida, along with visitors from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, South Carolina, North Carolina, Utah, Texas and Washington.
“Our state seems to be the banner holder currently right now.”
In a reflection of concern over the latest numbers, Palm Coast government has reversed its decision to open City Hall and resume in-person government meetings. “We will postpone in-person meetings until August and we will keep City Hall closed until August,” City Manager Matt Morton said this morning. “Right now it would be August 1.” The governor just extended an executive order permitting government meetings to be held by electronic means such as Zoom.
No such changes are envisioned for now at county government, at the school district or in Flagler Beach, where in-person meetings have resumed, with varying degrees of restrictions. “I’m OK with the meetings being with the way it is if it’s set up with the way it was set up last time,” Flagler Beach Commission Chair Jane Mealy said. “People were far away from each other and everybody wore a mask. I’m good with that. I hope people as cooperative tomorrow.” The commission holds a regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall Thursday evening.
Florida’s latest record parallels a massive spike across several parts of the country that had reopened their economies swiftly at the beginning of May, and where the reopenings had been interpreted as relaxing rules on social distancing, mask-wearing and other precautions against the spread of a promiscuously infectious disease. Today, the United States recorded its third-highest single-day total of new cases of the pandemic, with more than 35,000 new cases.
Spikes are occurring in 20 states, with Florida, Texas and Arizona–three states whose governors had boasted of dodging the brunt of the pandemic as they announced reopenings–leading the way. Gov. Ron DeSantis since last week has continued to be bullish on reopenings while refusing to mandate precautions such as mask-wearing, leaving it up to local governments to decide for themselves. Some have. Most have not. None in Flagler have, where mask-wearing remains a recommendation.
DeSantis has agreed to more seriously crack down on restaurants where social distancing rules are not respected, but the policing would be up to the Department of Professional and Business Regulation, the state agency that licenses restaurants, which has few inspectors. And mask-wearing would still not be part of the mandate in restaurants.
On Tuesday, High Jackers Restaurant at the county airport announced a week-long closure following the positive test of a staffer. The restaurant was to be sanitized and would reopen June 30. Finn’s Beachside Pub in Flagler Beach, which remains open, posted on its Facebook page a message from Harry Smith, the owner of harryoke.com who manages shows at the restaurant, and who took a Covid test on June 15, which returned positive. “I want to get the word out to any who may have been at my June shows at Finns to be aware of the situation and hear it from me first,” Smith wrote. “If you are concerned at all, do not hesitate to get a test to be sure, and in the meantime, self isolate and social distance proactively.” He has been in isolation since.
On Monday, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees issued a new public health advisory stating that “All individuals in Florida should wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible,” with few exceptions.
The county recorded six new infections in the last 24 hours according to this morning’s report by the Department of Health. The positivity rate in the county–the percentage of those testing positive out of the total of those tested–has also risen sharply, as it has in the rest of the state. In Flagler, where the positivity rate was between 1 and 2 percent two and three weeks ago, it’s risen above 7 percent in three of the last five days.
The median age of those testing positive for the virus has been lower in the last four weeks, falling to the mid-30s (it’s 32 this week), compared to much higher median ages in previous weeks.
Flagler County, Lord said, is “doubling down on messaging,” with renewed efforts at stressing the need for mask-wearing and social distancing. “These are not civil right violations, they’re behaviors that are so simple and don’t impact someone else’s ability to enjoy life,” Lord said. “Until shown otherwise I know that mask wearing and social distancing does make a difference in the spread, and obviously our lockdown proved that.”
Mike Cocchiola says
Trump and DeSantis are going to infect us all by their indifference to facts and medical science. DeSantis values Trump’s reelection quite a bit higher than the lives of Floridians. This is shameful.
Flagler live is happy to promote fear while ignoring the most relevant facts! While COVID cases are increasing significantly, COVID deaths are plummeting. There were 16,343 deaths the week ending April 18. Last week there were only 271 deaths.
High risk groups certainly need to take precautionary measures? But, it is hard to justify keeping social distancing practices in place for the general population.
Flaglerlive should be informing it’s readers that the risk of dying from COVID has dropped significantly rather than solely focusing on the rising number of cases.
You’re right, the article neglects to note that according to data verified as of June 22 at 10 a.m., there were 3,173 deaths in Florida. By data verified as of June 24, 9:25 a.m., there were 3,281 reported deaths, an increase of 108.
The 6/20 numbers are a bit suspect but the overall significant drop in deaths by COVID are obvious.
The CDC site has great demographics. The deaths by age is very informative and very few media outlets are reporting.
Florida Voter says
Of course the 6/20 numbers are suspect. In fact, the CDC says that “generally at least 75%” of deaths are “complete within 8 weeks of when the death occurred” … so even 8 weeks back, you shouldn’t be surprised if the listed numbers
only account for 3/4 of the relevant deaths. [I’d bold this part if I could]
Yes, the number of deaths did go down. The death curve follows the infection curve delayed by about 2-4 weeks, so with this new rise in infections, the death curve will go up again by the end of July. Please check that in mid-to-late August.
Please read the footnotes. Other footnotes mention that ” 63% of all U.S. deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death” but also “most deaths from COVID-19 must be coded by a person, which takes an average of 7 days.”
Truth Hurts says
I’m sorry, but with all due respect, Flagler Live does a much better reporting and research than national news outlets. Sometimes people do not want to hear the truth, or what they just ASSUME is the truth and then try to attack the source that’s stating facts and truth. With all the research that you have done, you should know that, hospitalizations and unfortunately deaths, linger weeks after the positive cases are reported. So just because it looks great for said consequences of cases, it does not mean that’s how it will stay. Hospitalizations and unfortunate deaths do not occur as soon as someone pops positive. Feel free to research that, because it is also FACTS.
You also fail to realize that the time from infection to death is on average 3 weeks for many people. Some people realize they have the infection and then pass on in a matter of days but for most, it’s not an infection, then hospitalization, then death, it does take time. Also, the true effects of this recent uptick are not yet known, since these recent infections and who they have infected may take up to 14 days to show the first signs of infection and then another 1-2 weeks or longer before hospitalization needed.
While rosey glasses are nice, they aren’t always factual and seeing the bigger picture. It’s only a matter of time before the deaths start rising, especially in nursing homes, and those with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions. Yes, for many healthy people, it is mild, but it’s not OK to sit back and say, “deaths are plummeting,” when the ramifications of this recent uptick are not fully known. I had it, I was fine, but I have no underlying health issues. Yet I make it a point to stay away from my 92-year-old grandmother because, you know, I want her alive and all. No one really knows how long someone is contagious. So while you say promoting fear, I say, no, exercise caution, since COVID should not take anyone down that say has lived 92-years. You want to frolic and throw caution to the wind not giving a darn about yourself or anyone else, it’s your prerogative, but I will wear a mask to protect my family, friends, and those I come in contact will because I don’t want to be responsible for hurting someone just by breathing.
Also, no, the risk of dying has not decreased. The people infected in this huge spike, for the most part, are healthy enough it’s not impacting them–wait fourteen days after they’ve infected their parents, their grandparents, or friends with health issues, and then you’ll see how quickly this still kills. While you’re at it, talk to the families that lost loved ones yesterday, or today, and wait to talk to those that will lose someone tomorrow, and the next, and the next.
Susan Grine says
When all the world took this seriously three months ago and they were telling people to stay home and distance themselves Florida did not do that Florida didn’t have a care in the world saying you always not going to affect us people did what they want now look what happened three months later now it’s affecting Florida Texas Washington state Alabama how do you heed the warnings before and earlier this would have never happened now.
Florida Citizen says
3 month ago.
March 22, 2020 Beaches and Parks closed in Flagler County. About the same time Schools and College switched to online after spring break. Vacation rentals stopped. Gym closed. Restaurants switched to take out. Yes bike week could have been cancelled earlier from the very beginning and Disney could have closed earlier and some beaches could have closed before spring break. Was it perfect, no. Was there some people who did not take it seriously, yes of course. But to say that Florida did not have a care in the world and did not tell people to stay home is a lie. Go back and listen to speeches by Ron De Santis and local mayors and that can easily be proven. Most people I know took it very seriously.
Sooooooo, it’s not a hoax?????
Soooooo, the FL sun doesn’t make it go away?
Soooooo, it’s not the deep state?
Sooooooo, it’s not Bill Gates?
Sooooooo, it’s not made up to defeat trump?
Sooooooo, the masks are political?
Well, I wonder why? no masks, no 6 foot rules apply, and not many people I see out and about really care! People are so rude when it is for the safety of others. I can’t stand going into public places like the grocery store, or at this point any place that will not require masks. And in my option it should be 10 feet!
I know some will disagree, but that’s ok. Just stay away from me!
Actually the real number for Flagler County is much higher. The person who got fired from doh for refusing to doctor the numbers has her own dashboard. Florida DOH now reports 250 cases in the county whereas the real number is 281.
And what is happening to the hospitalization rate? Based on those numbers it should be skyrocketing!! Or perhaps the people being tested now are asymptomatic people that have always been out there and were not tested before because only those with symptoms were tested. Continue to protect those who are vulnerable, the curve is flattened, we have not overwhelmed our healthcare system. Remember that is what we destroyed the economy, put millions and millions out of work, caused people to lose everything. Lose their businesses, their homes, put them in the hands of the government to take care of them. Well maybe that was some of the goal for those who made a real crisis political, instead of working together to save lives and save the economy. That’s all for now… I am heading to the store to get toilet paper before the idiots panic again because of all the hype and buy more than they can use in a year.
I guess you’re getting your curve from OAN, because even Fox is showing sharply increasing numbers. And for those that say a mask is a personal choice, I guess I can find you at Walmart naked since it’s a personal choice that takes no one else into account.
No @Paul…. just looking for someone to provide all the information instead of just what fits their narrative. If hospitalization rates are not going up we have accomplished what the shutdown was supposed to do. And what do you think it means if infection rates are are going up and hospitalization rates are not spiking? You are either testing asymptomatic people who have always been out there since the beginning or a much younger population / less compromising issues who it does not effect. All I am looking for is for all teh data to be presented and stop the stupid panic.
Hey Joe Mullins what do you have to say about this? Flagler County Commissioners should mandate wearing face protections for all indoor activities and areas where social distancing is not possible.
In addition Flagler County needs to enforce their Covid safety plans that would put in place for businesses. In addition to closing vacation rentals. These vacation rentals are full of young adults not abiding by the CDC recommendations.
You do not have to look any further then The Club at Hammock Beach. Just pass by the pool area on a nice sunny day.
Percy's mother says
If YOU are practicing:
1. Social distancing.
2. Wearing a mask.
3. Wearing gloves.
4. Sanitizing your car (interior/exterior)
5. Eating healthy (no garbage food).
6. NOT eating out.
7. Washing your groceries before you put them away.
8. Getting exercise.
9. Losing weight.
10. Losing weight.
11. Losing weight.
Then you should not have to worry about what everyone else ISN’T doing, because you’re protected right?
I see a hell of a lot of people “out” wearing masks that are either down under their chins, not covering their noses and/or just covering their mouths. I suppose they think that’s what’s called “wearing a mask”. How does that help?
You can’t mandate county-wide and business-exclusive wearing of masks.
Ewwww, it’s so scary to think people think like this. I’m sorry you have to live in your own head. This kind of judgmental attitude coupled with serious fear will only harm you. Try loving people instead to whatever is currently occurring inside your head to feel obligated to tell others how to live. Your ego has grown too large.
True true true. Hammock beach resort is packed to the gills. Along with many other hotel pools. Why isn’t anyone regulating hundreds of people piled on top of each other? Flagler beach restaurants are packed as well. What’s the point of 50% capacity when no one abides by it?
Vote Tuesday, November 3rd says
“so I said to my people, slow the testing down please”
Most people are rude, self-centered and do not like being told what to do. Like I said most. A lot of people who actually care about their health and others are wearing mask, keeping their social distance but its hard to follow when inconsiderate people in the stores invade that social distance to get to an item, this is just an example of inconsiderate jerks. Until our jerk off of a governor gets off his Trump following melting snowball, positive cases will raise unless the mayors of the cities take it upon themselves to implement some guidelines. When the death toll raises I guess things “could change” but Desantis is only looking at the $$$, not lives.
Florida Citizen says
It has not been my experience that most people are rude and self centered. I get that you may not like our governor because he is not from your party, but if you want others to change and not be rude how about you start by showing an example. Like for example stop name calling our governor and instead just say which policy or action you disagree with and perhaps it could lead to a discussion of where improvement could be made. How about a tiny bit of gratitude and look if there is something positive he did to try to manage this whole thing. Maybe say a prayer he can make good decisions for our state instead of calling him a jerk. Did you ever think about how a bad economy have serious negative problems for the people. It is a fine balance. Try it you might just start meeting more people that are not rude and self centered. Just a suggestion I am not telling you what to do.
Only Me says
I am still curious why Flagler County Officials and the City of PC Officials are making it mandatory for people to wear masks? What does it take to when the hospital is filled to capacity or it hits one of their loved ones?
Gov. DeSantis is in denial and as an elected Official he should be caring more about the people in Florida but it sure doesn’t appear to be that way. Like Donald Trump, they pass the buck to the cities to do it God forbid they made a smart decision on their own.
I appear the still very few people in Florida are taking this serious enough but when it starts hiding their own lives then maybe they will.
Very sad no one cares about human lives anymore and it sure shows.
A Concerned Observer says
No, it is not President Trump or Governor DeSantis that are making Floridians sick. A virus originating in China is making people sick. What is causing the spread of this virus? Ignorant, selfish people who refuse to believe the scientists and medical professionals. People seeking someone to blame always seem to place the blame on whichever political party they do not affiliate themselves with. Some people, for whatever reason(s) refuse to take any accountability for their own actions. If you do not like a politician, do not vote for them.
There is presently no COVID-19 cure or vaccine. There will not be anything available medically to combat this virus for several months, maybe longer. We can ONLY use physical barriers to keep ourselves healthy, and to prevent us from unknowingly (one can only hope “unknowingly”) spreading the virus within their own body to other innocent people in close proximity to them. Stay at home. When you must go out, stay away from any areas or events where groups of other people congregate. When that is absolutely not possible, wear a mask. Full stop!
The medical and scientific communities are of one mind as how to limit the spread of COVID-19 until a cure and vaccine become available. Their concern is for public health. . Politicians, however well intentioned they may be, have the economic health and public perception of their constituents and communities to be concerned with. Try to understand the difference.
Some businesses choose their financial health above the health of their customers. The ONLY way individuals can change their paradigm is not to patronize those businesses. If you do enter a business not adhering to prescribed mask and social distancing policies, leave! On your way out, make it a point to inform management that you will not patronize their establishment as long as they refuse to maintain a safer environment for their customers. When business owners see that their bottom line is directly connected to their failure to follow virus containment policies, they will change. If you do not care about your own health or that of your family, and wish to patronize your favorite bar, store or restaurant, don’t wear a mask and continue to mingle in close proximity to other self minded individuals. You all will eventually cease to be part of the problem. My family and I WILL NOT support any business, which does not assure their place of business is as clean and safe as possible.
The Truth says
It seems both Trump and DeSantis lack basic common sense. The case counts are rising, the positive rate is rising, the hospitalization is rising. Those who are stating that the death count is not rising, people don’t die instantly when they get the virus. Yes, some are asymptomatic but it takes time. The death count always is about 2-3 weeks behind the rising case count. More people go to hospital, more care needed, death follows. I figured this common sense but apparently many (in high levels of government and on this forum) lack this.
Florida Voter says
Don’t forget that the number of deaths reported also lags the number of actual deaths. Only “63% of all U.S. deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death” but also “most deaths from COVID-19 must be coded by a person, which takes an average of 7 days.” so maybe 2/3 of COVID-19 deaths are reported within 2 or 3 weeks. The CDC death count isn’t very up to date.
Flaglerflyer posted this great link, but I’m not sure if they read its limitations.
@ the truth…. where is the data showing that the hospitalizations are rising at a significant rate. And if so is the healthcare system being overwhelmed. That is why we destroyed the economy, why people will now be losing there homes, why we will have more homeless that will need to be taken care of by the government… we see the data with more confirmed cases but showing only part of the data makes it looks like something is being hidden. Why is that data not included with the article. My Stats teacher in college always told us “In Pierre T. we trust but everyone else brings data”. I may have not remembered the quote exactly but that’s close enough.
And who liked the common sense with the protestors who were out in the streets for weeks now? Is that Trumps and Desantis’s fault too? Who sent covid patients back into nursing homes in New York and thousands and thousands died? Was that Trump and Desantis? Our governor has done an a very good job protecting the vulnerable here in “Gods Waiting Room”. Stop the panic, stop buying toilet paper.
It’s not as simple as counting those that have tested positive compared to those that have been lost to us.
In between there is sometimes horrible illness, quarantining, worrying about family spread, not being able to work, hospitalization, hospital and doctor and pharmaceutical bills. These are tragic hardships above and beyond surviving the disease itself. Yet, very little focus has been on these terrible circumstances.
Here is the email I sent to the Flagler Beach city commissioners, the Mayor of Palm Coast, the Board of County Commissioners and our Congressional House of Representatives member:
This is the letter I sent to the governor today:
Dear Governor DeSantis,
You are being negligent and needlessly endangering the lives of those you have sworn to protect! Here in Flagler county we have too many residents who refuse to wear a mask or practice social distancing because our government representatives are not LEADING or setting a good example. If you do not step up and start “mandating” lifesaving behaviors statewide, many more people will become ill and quite possibly die, for no other reason than your lack of courageous leadership. Do not continue to give people an excuse for endangering others! Follow the advice of the medical experts and LEAD your people to safety.
How do you want to be remembered in history? As a puppet, or as a “respected” leader who did all he could to protect the people of Florida?
Since it is highly unlikely that DeSantis will do anything to protect us, I am asking that you join with our other government officials and “mandate” that masks be worn and social distancing be maintained in at least all inside spaces, and that social distancing guidelines be enforced by all restaurants including outside seating. If you have been following the discussion of this topic on Flaglerlive, you know that far too many people are absolutely refusing to wear masks. Certainly, our federal and state government representatives are setting a terrible example in this regard. This should not be a politically divisive issue. . . we are talking about saving pain and suffering and lives here!
Can we count on you to step up and “mandate” behaviors that will keep us all safer?
Stay safe and healthy!
These are just a few of the cities in Florida who mandate wearing a mask at some level. Of course we could and should do the same thing here!
MIAMI – As Florida passes a tough milestone for coronavirus cases, several South Florida mayors are getting tougher with their mask mandate.
On Monday, hours after the state surpassed 100,000 cases of COVID-19, the mayors of nearly a dozen cities in Miami-Dade County announced that they will be requiring people to wear face coverings in public.
“We are going to be implementing a mask-in-public rule,” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. “Everyone will have to be wearing a mask in public.”
The cities participating in the mask mandate include:
North Miami Beach
Their directive differs from the countywide order that says people must wear a mask indoors in public places but only outside in situations where you cannot practice social distancing to remain at least 6 feet apart.