Last Updated: 5:50 p.m.
5:50 p.m. update: When this article originally published early this morning, the total number of Flagler deaths was listed as 127, an increase of 13 in the last two weeks. It was based on Health Department Chief Bob Snyder’s figures as of Sunday. When Snyder gave the County Commission an update at 5:30 p.m. Monday, his presentation cited a total of 130, and he said an additional five had been tallied just this afternoon, for a total of 135. The article’s figures have been adjusted accordingly.]
At least 21 Flagler County residents have died of Covid-19 just in the last two weeks–a rate of three per day–raising the county’s total to 135, Bob Snyder, who heads the county’s health department–a state agency–said. It is the highest death tally for any two-week period since the pandemic began in early 2020.
In Florida, at least 1,687 residents have died of the disease just in the last two weeks. The figures are as of last Friday. They point to far more dire consequences of the pandemic’s fourth wave in Flagler and Florida than state officials have acknowledged. In fact, the state is no longer disclosing death counts for counties as it did in the first three waves of the pandemic. It is masking death counts for the state as a whole, just as it has been fudging vaccination figures to make them seem higher than they are, just as it has eliminated daily reports of case counts, whether for the state or the counties, in an apparent effort to downplay the intensity of the crisis.
Flagler County last week recorded 694 confirmed covid infections (as of Friday), yet another record, for a total of 2,004 confirmed infections in the last three weeks–almost 2 percent of the county’s population. Put an other way: there were more confirmed infections in the last three weeks in Flagler than all infections combined from January through October last year. But as with death figures, the profile of local infections is no longer available, so it’s impossible for residents to, for example, gauge the age of those infected or examine to what extent the pandemic is affecting children. Last week Dr. Michael Keating, Chief Medical Officer for AventHealth for children, said 12 children were hospitalized in the central division, an all-time high.
Admissions on a covid diagnosis at AdventHealth Palm Coast continue to hover between 80 and 90, with nearly 1,600 admissions in the AdventHealth’s network of 16 hospitals in the Central Florida division alone. “Our Central Florida Division facilities are currently operating at Black Status and seeing unprecedented volumes in our Emergency Departments, ICUs and PCUs. The teams in these areas are tired, overwhelmed and stretched thin,” an internal message to physicians stated Friday. Among the guidance given physicians: “Discuss end of life options/goals of care with patients upon admission,” and “Discharge patients as soon as possible to create capacity for waiting emergency department patients.”
Snyder disclosed the number of deaths for the county after a public record request. But even Flagler’s figure is limited to the sum total of fatalities. The age, race, sex and date of death of the individuals is not being disclosed–nor is the data available to the local health department the way it used, Snyder said. “I want to know this information myself,” he said. “So I’ve instructed my team to go hunt it down. They hunted it down as far as they could, and up to a point to give us this total number. So now what we’ve done is we’ve asked Tallahassee to give us the detailed information per your public record request. I’d like to know it myself.”
With the exception of the health department, Flagler County governments until late last month month went beyond the state’s fog on covid figures with what appeared to be more a blackout on local infections or even vaccination information. Only in the last two weeks elected officials began speaking individually about the importance of safety measures and of taking the vaccine. It was only on Saturday morning that Palm Coast posted on its Facebook page a Health Department advisory to “Let’s be united to keep Flagler healthy” and mask up. The county’s Emergency Management division and county government resumed those Facebook posts starting on July 29 and July 30. But both governments continue to refrain from issuing broader advisories through press releases, as they had in previous waves of the pandemic.
And the Flagler County school district has maintained almost complete silence on masking or vaccination advisories, whether on its Facebook page, its website or in press releases. An exception on Friday was Superintendent Cathy Mittlestadt’s letter to parents and the community. The superintendent referred to “conflicting guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities”–the “conflict” has enabled many a local government to pick the message of their choice–, pointed to the governor‘s executive order barring mask mandates and pointed to the district’s Back to School plan before making a personal statement: “Before I leave my house each morning, I re-evaluate my health status. I continue to regularly wash my hands throughout the day, and when I am unable to maintain the CDC’s recommended COVID-19 protocols, I prefer to use a face covering and encourage others to do the same. Often, it’s as simple as taking a few steps back from a person. On a personal level, I’ve been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and I continue to do my part to make sure I’m careful around others and respect their personal decisions.”
There’s been no conflicting information from the Centers for Disease Control, the federal government or even the local health department. Snyder, for his part, said masking in school was “absolutely” necessary during the current surge. The only conflict is between the the federal, scientific and even local health department’s consensus on one side, and the DeSantis administration on the other. The DeSantis executive order, however, relies on demonstratbly false claims.)
Nevertheless, Flagler Palm Coast High School today is holding a series of events to mark “Bulldog Success Day” (“9th grade students will not need their backpack or laptop for the day”), including an afternoon pep rally in the school’s gym. Pep rallies encourage loud expression, singing and shouting: exactly the sort of activities, in a crowded, enclosed environment that spread covid. (See evidence here, here, here, here and here.) [1:35 p.m. Update: The school announced in early afternoon that it was converting the pep rally to a virtual event.]
In the first week of school, which started on Aug. 10 in Flagler, 55 students and 19 staffers tested positive for the virus, according to the district’s daily tally, including 14 students and two employees on Friday.
The state health department’s weekly covid report is a far cry from the daily reports that used to post until late spring. The report posted Friday reveals a cumulative total of deaths attributed to covid in Florida of 40,766 since the beginning of the pandemic. The previous week’s report’s total was 39,695, a difference of 1,071. Yet the very same report posted Friday masks that figure by stating that deaths in the “previous week” totaled only 286. The difference is not explained. A footnote states that death counts “include individuals who meet a standardized national surveillance case definition.” But the note doesn’t clarify whether it applies to the lower or the higher figure. In the previous week, the report indicated 616 deaths, and 409 deaths the week before that.
Further complicating the matter, the state health department a week ago changed the way it was reporting figures altogether, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “The result: Florida no longer provides a real-time picture of how COVID is impacting the state,” the newspaper reported Saturday. “The most dramatic example is that Florida’s daily death count had been trending upward since the end of June, but with the recent adjustments made by the state Department of Health, the number of deaths due to COVID appeared to decline dramatically over the past week. At least on paper.” The paper added: “Florida changed its COVID reporting method Tuesday and now reports when cases or deaths actually occurred rather than when they were communicated to the state – allowing health officials to assign cases or deaths to days in the past rather than the present.”
The weekly report also fudges vaccination numbers. Before the state eliminated more detailed county-by-county reports, Flagler’s numbers differentiated between first and second shots, and included a detailed breakdown in ages of those vaccinated. It issued the last such report on June 3–two weeks before the fourth wave began. At the time, the report showed that 57,928 people had received at least one shot in the county (50 percent), but only 49,323, or 43 percent of the population, had completed their series.
Friday’s state report shows Flagler as having 66,834 of its 116,671 residents vaccinated (57 percent). But the figure doesn’t differentiate between first and second doses, even though a surge of recent vaccinations is the result of individuals only recently electing to be vaccinated. So state also states that 64 percent of the county’s eligible population (12 and older) is vaccinated. But the figure is doubly deceptive: first, it overstates the number of people who have completed their cycle. Second, it downplays the fact that herd immunity is measured on a total-population basis, not vaccine-eligibility basis, because even younger children are transmitters of the coronavirus’s delta variant.
When only fully vaccinated figures are examined, Flagler County is only at 50 percent of its total population, and 56 percent of those ages 12 and up. After falling to as few as 50 shots per day in the county in late June and early July, the number of vaccinations rose for four weeks in a row, to nearly 1,400 in the week ending Aug. 6, only to decline again last week, to 1,236.
The Flagler Health Department is running a seven-days-a-week testing and vaccination operation–five days at 120 Airport Road, on the second floor, from 3 to 6 p.m., and seven days at the health department’s facility at 301 Dr. Carter Boulevard in Bunnell, where weekday hours are also 3 to 6 p.m. and weekend hours are from 9 to 11 a.m. But Snyder said testing is ahead of vaccines by a four-to-one ratio–out of about 100 people who show up at either location each day, “it’s like 20 to 25 that want to get vaccinated and then the rest, 75 to 80 want to get tested.” Snyder will be making the rounds of local governments this week–at the County Commission this evening, the Palm Coast City Council on Tuesday and the Flagler Beach City Commission on Thursday, reporting on the latest surge. The school board is in workshop on Tuesday. Snyder is not presenting there.
scared to get sick or die from covid? get vaxxed, wear a mask, stay awy from areas that you believe you may get sick. if all those dont seem to work why force those same decisions on others?
herewegoagain . says
“…why force those same decisions on others?”
herewegoagain . says
WHAT seems to be LACKING ..
is a World Wide Coordinated Effort
when considering the World
is just a Giant Interconnected System ..
Mike Tiesin says
Because it takes a village. Ever heard of that? The Delta variant is a prime example of why it takes a team effort to rid the world of this virus. Villagers who choose to not get the vaccine are contributing to the long term survivability of the pandemic. The longer its around the longer we have to finger point, bitch, blame, and hate each other. I’m literally at the point now where I want to walk up to the unvaccinated and punch them right smack in the nose. So sick and tired of this virus. So sick and tired of seeing the solution readily and freely available and seeing some of this world’s absolute stupidest gutless turds holding us all up from moving on with our normal lives.
GET THE GODDAM VACCINE YA PATHETIC …
You are so right!!!
I’ve never witnessed such selfishness. Do the research! Educate yourself! It doesn’t matter what you “heard”. Follow the science
PC Anon says
to both of these comments: what about the people with other health issues that literally can’t get the vaccine…..?! not everyone is able to have that luxury, including children!!!
Nancy N. says
Some people can’t get vaxxed (under 12 year olds, people with certain medical issues). Masks work best when worn by the sick person, to contain the respiratory droplets they expel that carry the virus most efficiently. And really, if you think that your right to not take the simple precaution of wearing a mask is so important that it requires other people to take the extreme step to completely remove themselves from society for their own safety, well, then probably nothing I say can teach you human decency and empathy for others.
Trailer Bob says
And if you wear a mask make it an N95 mask. Those woodshop masks are almost useless, though they stop some droplets from getting into you. Check out the research on the dust masks, it is out there. I avoid people with them and assume they are uneducated on this fact. Saving a buck isn’t worth your health or life.
“An N95 mask is a type of respirator. It offers more protection than a medical mask does because it filters out both large and small particles when the wearer inhales” CDC.
David Schaefer says
You can blame DeathSantis for the lack of adequate information.
DeSantis has no ETHICAL right to withhold important, serious information that could help the residents of Florida and separate counties be aware of how really really serious this is and be able to protect and help themselves!!! No humane person would ever do that. This is an awful predicament to put people in and somehow there must be a judge that could force the governor to let out that information.
However, DeSantis may have the right to mistreat and be dishonest with his constituents by withholding the Virus info from us, but his constituents (voters) also have the right to vote him out of office. Nikki Fried, our secy of agriculture is running for governor and she has gained a lot of my attention as a candidate to read many things about.
Trailer Bob says
I respect Nikki Fried and will probably vote for her. She is smart and reasonable, regardless of her party offiliation.
Rick C says
DeSantis had big political aspirations. That’s the only thing on his mind. A few thousand deaths here or there are not a problem for him.
herewegoagain . says
WHEN I READ STATEMENTS LIKE THIS,
I WONDER IF
PUTTING YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND
IS REALLY THE BEST
APPROACH TO THE PANDEMIC ??
” … They point to far more dire consequences of the pandemic’s fourth wave in Flagler and Florida than state officials have acknowledged.
In fact, the state is no longer disclosing death counts for counties as it did in the first three waves of the pandemic.
It is masking death counts for the state as a whole, just as it has been fudging vaccination figures to make them seem higher than they are, just as it has eliminated daily reports of case counts, whether for the state or the counties, in an apparent effort to downplay the intensity of the crisis. … ”
HIDING THE FACTS
HELPS NO ONE .. and
JUST INCREASES PEOPLES DISTRUST OF THE GOVERNMENT
DeathSantis is a health hazard to the State of Florida. Remember this when he is begging you to vote for him.
I think we are doing great here in palm Coast area . I live and work here. my son goes to school here and no problems. Live life get your heads out of the news and statistics.
Karen Curry says
Cut the crap, the cat’s out of the bag. Time to abandon that trumpian alternate reality head in the sand drivel. Florida is a toxic swamp overflowing with Covid’s latest & greatest variant Delta. For you to say your little bit of Flagler is free of it is ludicrous. Then again, maybe you can sell that as the opening act for the My Pillow guy.
Trump is vaccinated, not sure why you’re bringing him into this, he lives in your head rent free… I know many Biden supporters that are against the vaccine. It’s not only trump supporters, Karen.
Nice and Dandy until you catch this bug! The number minority imposing no prevention on the majority! Be ready to bare the responsibility for students getting sick if not already as details of Covid deaths ID’s in FL are hidden.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Whatever happened to the American way of life which was based on learning, giving, sharing, and caring about each other?
Maybe the vaccine has ‘things’ which might not exactly be the best ingredients on earth but right now it is ALL we have to help lessen our chances of outright death.
As far as the female anti-maskers I wish I could afford to send you all to Saudi Arabia and make sure you are greeted with a burqa upon your arrival….Just please STFU and put a mask on your face to protect those around you even though you really don’t give a damn about any of us.. To all you anti-maskers just be careful; the hospitals are running out of beds and ventilators .
Please take your voodoo constitutional rights and witchcraft science stay the hell away from those of us who do care and who want to live.
Trailer Bob says
But, but, but, but…That’s scientific…AND common sense…
Rick C. says
What happened to that way of life? Backwards Neanderthals came to power.
Concerned Citizen says
It is unconscionable that deSantis has politicized this pandemic. Does he think his supporters want dishonesty or does he really not believe the scientists? He has been proven wrong, time and again.
Ray W. says
Unlike witnesses who swear under oath to tell the truth before they testify, the governor’s oath does not contain language requiring him or her to ever tell the truth. The focus of the oath is on upholding the state and federal constitutions.
Please shutdown all buissness and school this is out if control
Trailer Bob says
Is that sarcasm?
herewegoagain . says
THIS PARAGRAPH SAYS IT ALL —
” In Florida, at least 1,687 residents have died of the disease just in the last two weeks. The figures are as of last Friday. They point to far more dire consequences of the pandemic’s fourth wave in Flagler and Florida than state officials have acknowledged. In fact, the state is no longer disclosing death counts for counties as it did in the first three waves of the pandemic. It is masking death counts for the state as a whole, just as it has been fudging vaccination figures to make them seem higher than they are, just as it has eliminated daily reports of case counts, whether for the state or the counties, in an apparent effort to downplay the intensity of the crisis.
“The state is no longer disclosing death counts…”
“… just as it has been fudging vaccination figures…”
“…it has eliminated daily reports of case counts…”
“…in an apparent effort to downplay the intensity of the crisis…”
Absolutely SAD when you can’t TRUST our own FLORIDA LEADERS .. ..
What Else Is New says
Then there is Flagler Health President and CEO Jason Barrett saying on WJXT First Coast Connect radio show he is not requiring vaccinations at Flagler Hospital because he feels this is too political. This is an outrage. Do other local hospitals hold the same view?
I am shocked and disappointed that the CEO of Flagler Hosptital/St. Augustine made the statement that he doesn’t want to mandate Covid Vaccinations for the Healthcare workers because it’s too political.
How about….. it is unethical and immoral to have UN-vacinnated healthcare workers work with the sick.
J. Michael Kelley says
I would like to ask an honest question. Let me preface this by saying i am not taking
a get vaccinated or don’t get vaccinated position. I would like to know how many people in flagler county that were admitted for Covid had been vaccinated and how many had not? Please this is an honest question.
According to Health Department Chief Snyder’s presentation to the County Commission Monday evening, about 92 percent of those admitted in Palm Coast are unvaccinated, though the figure is closer to 80 percent in Volusia. Numerous vaccinated people being admitted are the recent vaccinated, I.e. those who have not completed their cycle. The vaccines take full effect a couple of weeks after the cycle is complete. While thousands are getting shots now, they remain vulnerable for several weeks.
Why hasn’t the media been cornering anyone on this ? And then wait to report it as a stat fixing/doctoring & lack of transparency until Aug 16 if it has been going on since June 3rd ? Why wait 60-70+ days. Something fishy going on with allegations & claims from both sides. Because the cases are being tracked still, the deaths should be as well. And they moved the goal posts by changing reporting definition for methodology, timing of deaths as a change really ? That number will still show up as a total whether they decide to record it when the person was admitted to the ICU (that is counted as a daily case count increase) vs the actual date of death recorded on a death certificate. The actual date of death should remain the only accurate method for counting a death & should still be that definition, since it’s the event that determines still alive vs dead. That way they can also use the # of days in the ICU as a general ballpark number for how long the entire process takes to either be discharged from the ICU as healthy or deceased.
@itisthe Why? Why? Why? Can’t you understand. . . Those who still refuse to be vaccinated are the ones who are holding the rest of us hostage. They (you?) are selfishly filling up the hospital beds so that those who are in accidents or have heart attacks, or long scheduled surgeries, etc. etc. etc. are forced to compete for medical resources. They are keeping schools from opening safely. . . can you not comprehend that kids under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated? Are you really OK with little kids being terribly sick and hospitalized?
Geez! Get your head out of FOX (not factual news), OAN, Facebook. . . or where ever you get your distorted, simplistic views and do try to understand the massive repercussions caused by the stubborn stupidity of the un-vaccinated. They are the ones spreading a terrible disease, and therefore “they/you?” are the ones who should be forced to quarantine until vaccinated.
Concerned Citizen says
I hate to bust your blame bubble but…
The unvaccinated are not holding anyone hostage. Vaccinated folks are now getting Covid. And while they might not be as sick as others they can certainly spread it. And now the CDC says boosters might be required because they can’t guarantee the effectiveness of the current one. So you expect folks to go get a vaccine that may or may not work with effects that aren’t 100% known. Ok then
David Schaefer says
Sherry simply said the reason they don’t understand is there brainwashed by Trump and those bleach injections…
The Coke Zero event at the Speedway has lifted all restrictions (per news journal) on that event. Despite this and the fact that the virus is rampant, thousands of unvaccinated or not yet immune people from the shot will attend and that will spike another surge. People are still attending various crowded events going on in their home towns or elsewhere and only care about themselves. While I do not want to see the economy tank, There should be cancellations or postponements of massive events until it’s safer. Hotels and tourist attractions care about losing money, I don’t blame them, but until EVERYBODY, residents, business owners, hospitals, hotels, etc cooperates to end these monster viruses, the economy will tank to a certain degree anyway because people will be sick, jobs lost and all that goes with it.
Lock down the state to everyone un vaccinated. Have a card or wear a badge if you are vaccinated in order to be let into buissnesses, if you are seen on the streets in public without a vaccination badge displayed you may be subject to penalties.l
@ Concerned Citizen. . . you are correct, those who are vaccinated do not have 100% protection against the “mutating” virus and boosters will eventually be required. But, that protection is a hell of a lot better that not being vaccinated at all.
Now, imagine if there was NOT a CULT of stupidity by 30-35% of our population. . . driven by lies on Facebook/loyalty to trump/brainwashing by 20 years of FOX, etc. Imagine if 90% of us cooperated and worked together to protect one another by wearing masks in the early days and then getting vaccinated. If that were the case, we would have saved thousands of lives, along with massive pain and suffering. We would also have a far superior chance of getting our lives back to some semblance of normal. Therefore, the stubborn, selfish stance of the “un-vaccinated” has caused unnecessary deaths and IS still holding our lives hostage.
If it weren’t for the despicable “un-vaccinated” the virus would be less likely to continue mutating into something even more contagious and lethal.
If it weren’t for the despicable “un-vaccinated” our schools could open much more safely.
If it weren’t for the despicable “un-vaccinated” our hospitals would not be filled to the brim with people suffering and dying. . . and turning away those who need scheduled surgeries, and other vital medical care.
If it weren’t for the despicable “un -vaccinated” many more people could return to their jobs.
If it weren’t for the despicable “un-vaccinated” we could much more safely eat in restaurants and go to movies and sporting events, etc.
So, Concerned Citizen. . . NO, the “break through” cases of those who have been vaccinated DO NOT wipe out the responsibility of those who have blood on their hands by refusing to be vaccinated/wear a mask. . . except in the warped minds of the talking heads on the likes of FOX.
Duhsantis is lying! I too remember the jump of like 800 deaths overnight on world meter, but I think they spread it out over months to make it look like they didn’t happen. How do you account for 8 deaths a day for the past 3 days? He is such garbage. God will judge!
Finally the silent majority (that does not noisy auto rally, branding offensive flags, obscene signs, intimidate or disrupt public meetings with unruly behavior carrying guns) is heard: https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2346751589600/pro-mask-parents-win-a-round-vs-desantis-in-florida-s-school-mask-battle?s=oldSite&ss=a3
All our students health should be protected with any means of Covid prevention available to avoid this: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2021/08/02/florida-leads-the-nation-in-kids-hospitalized-for-covid/