Covid-19 cases in Flagler spiked in the last 24 hours by 18 cases, going from 392 cumulative cases in Monday’s report to 410 in today’s report by the Florida Department of Health, one of the largest single-day increases since the pandemic began in late February. The state added 7,300 new cases for a cumulative total of 213,800 as the surge that began roughly two weeks after June 5’s Phase 2 reopening continues.
Staffers at two more long-term care facilities have tested positive for thecoronavirus–at Flagler Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing home, and at Magnolia Manor of Palm Coast, an assisted living facility, the department’s report indicates.
While the median age of those affected in the June-July surge has been lower than in April, it has steadily been rising statewide, from 33 two weeks ago to 40 in the latest report, about the same as it’s averaged in Flagler over the last two weeks. Flagler has not seen a death from the virus in over a month, but the state reported 63 deaths today and 47 yesterday, as the seven-day average of deaths has continued to rise and is now approaching its previous peak. The death tally discredits recurring assumptions that because the median age of those affected is lower, the number of deaths will be lower. The assumption is not taking into account the massively larger number of infections in this round, compared to April, with the net result being that more older people are being infected, not less, even though the proportion of older people infected is lower.
This evening the Palm Coast City Council will be the first local government in the county to formally consider a mandatory mask mandate. Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said she intends to raise the issue. She has the backing of City Manager Matt Morton, while most members of the council have previously spoken as advocates of masks.
Morton said that with the discussion ahead, the administration took the initiative to have a resolution prepared as a basis for discussion. The resolution mandates that “Every person living, working, visiting or doing business in the City of Palm Coast shall wear a face covering in any indoor location, other than home or residence,” while businesses will be “encouraged to prohibit entry of any person who is not wearing a face covering,” with exceptions.
The wording applying to businesses is carefully tailored not to require businesses to enforce mask-wearing by patrons. The 10 exceptions are similar to those put forth in a county proposal for a mandate that County Commission Chairman Dave Sullivan sought, but that was shot down by County Administrator Jerry Cameron after Sheriff Rick Staly said that he was adamantly opposed to having his deputies turned into the mask police. Staly considers a mask mandate unenforceable, though he’s proposing alternative routes for local governments to take with such mandates–through trespassing or code enforcement measures.
Palm Coast’s mandate is tailored almost word for word after that of New Smyrna Beach, whose city commission approved a mandate last week. New Smyrna Beach’s commission had started with a resolution that would merely recommend mask-wearing (as local governments do in Flagler), but “instead, in a 3-2 vote, they mandated masks,” WESH’s Claire Metz reported. “But there are no penalties for non-compliance.”
Palm Coast’s version of the measure–which could, of course, change or be discarded by the time council members are done discussing it tonight–also carries no penalties for infractions, so there’d be nothing there for the sheriff to police. Palm Coast contracts with the sheriff for policing. But Staly said a mandate would spur people to call for law enforcement anyway when they see violators. He worries that the 911 center would be overwhelmed by calls.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Morton said today. He was to have further discussions with STaly to get clarification about the sheriff’s proposal, disclosed in an interview with FlaglerLive on Monday. “If I’m consistent with my beliefs and what I’ve espoused for how many weeks at the virtual town halls? I agree with the health professionals, I agree with the CDC.”
Palm Coast is the first of three city governments to take up the mask mandate as policy this week. Bunnell and Flagler Beach’s commissions do so on Thursday. There is no indication that the county commission is interested yet.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking in Miami earlier this afternoon, focused less on rationalizing the higher infection numbers than on urging precautions, though he refrained, as he has in the past, from encouraging people to wear masks. For the past two weeks he had inaccurately attributed the state’s rise in cases to increased testing. More testing does account for some of the increase, but the sharp increase in the positivity rate–the rate at which people test positive for Covid-19–means that the virus is spreading, and that the state is not doing enough testing to trace it and contain it. Today, DeSantis acknowledged those higher positivity rates, which have also been seen in Flagler, though not as high as in South Florida and in Duval.
The positivity rate statewide has been above 14 percent for the past nine days, and above 16 percent in the latest report. That suggests considerable community spread.
“We’re seeing positivity in Miami-Dade, some of the other places maybe not as high, but higher than they would be, so now is the time to continue to be very cautious and continue to limit that close contact so that you can avoid being infected while this virus is out,” DeSantis said. “A lot of this is being driven by younger people. Look, they’re much less at risk, if you look at the statistics, if you’re under 40 and you don’t have a significant underlying condition, the fatality rate is incredibly, incredibly low, which is a good thing.”
DeSantis was downplaying the numbers. The rate is low, but the numbers are still stark: 100 Floridians ages 44 and younger have been killed by the disease, and more than 3,000 in that age group have been hospitalized. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 can be grueling, unpredictable ordeals, sometimes lasting months and leaving the patient with physical and psychological scars, and facing long recoveries.
At the same time, those folks interact with people who may be in vulnerable groups, so that’s definitely a concern, not only with staff in a nursing home but just things like multi-generational living, visiting parents and grandparents. Now is the time to exercise that caution.”
You don’t want to be the mask police, which will actually save lives but you have no problem being the dime bag squad, filling jails with non-violent small-time offenders. Got it. Makes total sense, Trumpet with a pulpit.
Linda H. says
This is totally unenforceable. Do you think that Publix is going to ban all customers not wearing masks? Until they do, this is not enforceable. The same applies with any other store. The small stores ARE enforcing it, the majors are not.
Susan Grine says
You must wear a mask. you’re not only being respectable about yourself but to your neighbors so you don’t spread this horrible virus Lucas what happened to your state because the governor didn’t take it here it’s 2 months ago now everything is out of control in Florida. This is not a joke people.
Name (required) says
I have a very comfortable mask that was made by a friend. It keeps me from looking like I don’t care, while potentially protecting those around me. When I know I’m going to be within close proximity to other people in volume, I tend to always wear it. Sometimes I don’t when I’m running into the store at 9 PM and there’s no one else inside and I quickly just make my purchase and leave and keep my mouth shut. Situational awareness and common sense, with mindfulness of my community is all I have. I trust my neighbors and local “friends” by proxy, to make a similar effort. That’s all I can ask. My older parents live here as well, and I can assure you my soul concern is for them; and less for myself. Be vigilant and responsible, everyone; and we will Be successful in mitigating the spread Of a virus that clearly affect some differently than others and that’s the key fact to be understood. Unity through patience for an inconvenience matter. Please just try to do your best to be sensible, all. Thanks. -citizen
It is really frustrating to see how people are pushed in a corner with narratives implying truth that has not been proven at all. Everyone in Flagler County/Palm Coast is divided over the effectiveness of masks and if wearing a mask is a civil duty, or just a political game. At the end, we need to remember all the conflicting information out there about Covid 19. Initially, Imperial College in London has been putting out projections, which the whole world ran on, about how millions of people would die because of Covid 19. Not only did that not happen at all, but the scientist running the models acknowledged
, in a hearing, that his models were not designed to make those forecasts, and that his forecasts were wrong. Next thing was to protect the elderly and people in senior homes and assisted living homes from the spread of Covid 19. The largest outbreak that captured the news for weeks was in New York where hundreds of seniors were infected with Covid 19 and died. Turns out, Governor Cuomo put Covid 19 infected patients from hospitals into senior homes and assisted living facilities. I don’t even want to address the reasoning behind it. However, we have to remember, how we have been lead to believe that this virus is horrible and killing people left and right. Recently, the CDC published on their own website, that people with a cold, or who had a cold could potentially test positive for Covid 19. There is a lot of evidence that the counting of Covid cases has been anything but perfect and well organized. The official numbers are not painting a correct picture of the situation. Furthermore, people are getting confusing information about people infected, versus people becoming clinical cases and ending up in the hospital. I think, at this stage, it is fair to say that there is a whole lot of confusion about the realities of Covid 19. Some of the confusion is intended, some of it is due to the massive flow of data that needs to be organized into charts and data sheets to get a grip of what’s really going on. If one starts drilling down into actual deaths caused entirely by a Covid 19 infection, they will find out that a lot of the patients dying have pre existing conditions. They are dying with Covid 19, but probably not of Covid 19. People with pre existing conditions, elderlies and more frail people need protection from Covid 19, however, there is not sufficient evidence to claim that the death toll of Covid 19 is any different then the death toll of the flu. It will take probably years of research and data collection to really prove this fact. But in the meantime, all we have to base our decisions on how to cope with Covid 19 is insufficient information and data, a LOT of hype, scare tactics and finally betrayal. The rhetorik is so super smart, but that makes it so much more dangerous. To imply that the person wearing the mask is not protecting themselves but the other people around them is just devious. No one in their right mind can honestly say that they don’t care about the people around them, because the majority does. The majority is not out there trying to harm anyone. But by implying that if you do not wear your mask that is what you are doing is wrong. At the end, you can only be responsible for your own actions. One can not claim, just because the person next to you at publix didn’t wear a mask made other people sick. It might, but people should not be pegged against each other in this way. What is does is, it divides people at times when they should come together, it takes peoples focus away from the real issues, which are not masks. But if one follows just the narratives thrown around, then that is more scary to me than Covid 19 itself. We went from being bombarded with “we will lose millions of lives to Covid 19, we need a lockdown because our health care system is not prepared for millions of patients, if you not wear a mask you are killing the economy, and your neighbor. People wake up, this is how “they” drive society over a cliff!!!! At the end, it is like with the flu. The majority of people will develop herd immunity and that is the reason we all can live with flu outbreaks. If we had the same reactions to the flu as we are having to Covid 19, we would be done as a species. The reason that we as humans survive is that our systems adapt to challenges and that it will make us all stronger as a whole. If we had been hiding from the flu all these years, we would probably be already walking zombies just waiting for our next vaccine shot. What we really have to ask ourselves is, do we want to live like that, or just want to go back to normal, be cautious, but not scared. We need to strengthen our health, our immune systems, we need to be out there exercising, getting fit, eating healthy and move on with our lives. If we sit around being told to wait for a vaccine before we can have our lives back, our economies will be beyond repair. We will be coming back to a broken world. I am not a conspiracist, but I am vigilant trying to figure out, beyond the hype and noise what is really going on around us. If we drown out the noise of the media, we will find insufficient data, but a whole lot of actions based on it. Right now, we are running like scared rabbits scattered all over because we heard a shot. We don’t even know if the shot was intended for us…….We need to stop, listen to what’s really happening, consolidate and come up with a well thought out plan of action. Dictatorships and totalitarian regimes can only get a grip on masses of people because they peg the masses against each other. Just as Sheriff Staley said, that the mask wearing can not be enforced, because it would require massive policing, it only works because people shame each other into it, or because people even report non mask wearers to the police. But how awful is that turning on each other like that? What is going to be the next thing they ask people to police each other for? Your lifestyle, making sure you are paying your taxes? Our city has a lot more problems which need resolve and will require for people to work together and not against each other. If our economy survives or not is not depending on wearing a mask, it is depending on being reasonable and supportive. We need to gain herd immunity, while at the same time be kind to our neighbors, protect our elderly and be mindful of each individuals rights. So many people proclaim proven science behind the mask wearing. But that is NOT true. There is supporting science either way.
This needs to be taken seriously I don’t feel it will make a difference if there’s no punishment for non compliance and I’m sick of seeing people dying because of others ignorance. Elderly are just as important as anyone and a lot of young people ha e disabilities and underlying health conditions yet this state is a mess and so is the health cate system aside from several that I’ve seen being e extremely cautious. People shouldn’t have to live in fear because others hygiene and carelessness may not be as it should be in a serious situation because they feel they are immune because their healthy and that’s not always the case healthy or not everyone is at risk and the numbers are t out of control for nothing. I realize it may be an inconvenience to the police but to save lives isn’t it worth a little more effort on e dry ones part including citizens. There’s not enough being done and I wish that the Gove or and the Senator would implements stricter rules for everyone’s safety. There has to be sacrifices but not lives lost as the sacrifice. Make effectively safe masks for the sick and elderly available to these who are at high risk as well as the health care workers not just to protect others but themselves as well while they are doing e writhing they can to be as safe as possible not d regime has resources to find truly safe masks likeKN 95 masks to prevent people from catching COVID19 as well as spreading it.
I would say Mask it or Casket. I rather wear a mask than a body bag.
Jane GentileYoud says
What is the BFD about putting a 1/4 piece of fabric to cover your nose an mouth – a custom in Japan for many years for anyone who has even a slight cold!
Don’t play with my life – only God, not the local Republican Party has a right to ‘make mistakes’ …..( I am registered Republi can’t) formerly Republican