By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – Another record-setting week of reported COVID-19 cases sent Florida over the 200,000 mark, with the Florida COVID Action site showing 216,897 have tested positive. Palm Beach County added 1,977 cases since Friday, and Delray Beach made up 118 of those.
Ahead of the July 4th weekend, Palm Beach County took steps to curtail the spread of the virus, establishing an executive order requiring masks be worn, and then closing the beaches from Friday to Sunday.
Delray Beach Police Chief, Javaro Sims, reported that the city residents complied for the most part. “The holiday weekend went very well with no notable issues,” he said. “We continue to educate the public on the guidelines established by the municipality and board of county commissioners.”
Delray Beach Fire Rescue Chief Tomey said the same, “Luckily, there weren’t any major issues over the holiday weekend. For the most part, residents were compliant as far as we know.”
The results of the County’s action will not be seen immediately, and Monday did show an additional 6,336 new cases reported. This is down from the four previous days of more than 10,000-a-day increases. In the last week, the number of cases across Florida jumped by 41 percent, and in Palm Beach County by 26 percent.
Chief Tomey explained what residents can do. “Just like they did at the start of the pandemic, I urge residents to stay at home if they can. I understand the desire to return to normalcy, to see friends and family or do some shopping, but we all have to do what we can to slow the spread of the coronavirus.”
He adds, “We know what to do. We just have to do it. Wash your hands, wear masks and socially distance when possible.”
According to Florida COVID Action, of the sixteen hospitals reporting in Palm Beach County, eleven have less than ten ICU beds available, and there are currently 122 ICU beds available.
Of the 18,664 COVID-19 positive cases in Palm Beach County, 2,633 (sixteen percent) were admitted to ER. Of those, 1,921 (twelve percent) were admitted into the hospital and 557 (3.2 percent) died.
Governor Ron DeSantis downplayed any alarm at a press conference today. “Oh, the media says ‘record-breaking.’ It’s really been the same,” he said. Also adding that the increase in positivity rates were a result of who is getting tests. “It was probably circulating among young people in March and April, we just weren’t testing for it,” he said.
To address the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic and subsequent closures, DeSantis said, “We need to have people work. We need to keep society functioning, you can have society function in a way that keeps people safe.”
According to Johns Hopkins, as of today, July 6th, the United States has approximately a quarter of the reported global cases, with 2,888,729, and 130,101 deaths. Florida’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached a total of 206,447, with 3,778 deaths, and Palm Beach County has recorded a total of 17,242 with 543 deaths.
The difference between these and the Florida COVID Action numbers is the inclusion of non-residents, as well as exclude those who received positive anti-body test results. Rebekah Jones was the architect for the state’s site, but left to create her own dashboard following disagreements about the data reporting.
In the City’s video update this afternoon, Delray Beach Fire Rescue Chief Tomey admitted to the viewers, “I don’t see any signs of us leveling off at all.”
For perspective, Palm Beach County has 1.497 million residents, and from 2013 to 2018 the average deaths per year in the county were between 13,500 and 15,000, with the leading causes being heart disease, cancer and strokes.
Palm Beach County’s Interactive Testing Map has over 62 testing sites, and can help residents find the closest private or community based testing location for them.