By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The State of Florida recorded 15,300 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday morning, shattering the past record for any state since the pandemic began, even New York’s daily high of 12,000 in April. Palm Beach County also saw 1,171 new cases yesterday, nearly a 25 percent jump from the past record.
The numbers in the greater Delray Beach area, including zip codes 33483, 33444, 33445, 33446, 33484 reached 1,374 on Sunday. That is an increase of 129 since Friday, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
Shelly Petrolia, Mayor of the City of Delray Beach, predicts hospital restrictions and businesses will suffer. “As cases spike, ICU beds as well as hospital beds for elective surgery will be again reserved for COVID-19 patients,” she said this morning.
Adding, “We will experience the reverse of opening up, only it may be more organic. People are already reacting to the spikes by limiting their outings. Restaurants and retail businesses are feeling the customer dip.”
“The City is monitoring our local hospital bed availability, deaths associated with COVID-19 as we witness infection spikes and are in touch daily with the Emergency Management team,” she adds.
The death rate, according to the Florida COVID Action has decreased slightly in Palm Beach County from 3.2 percent last week to 2.9 percent of those who have tested positive, however the number of daily deaths is rising steadily, and accumulating data typically lags 2-3 weeks.
Of the 22,744 COVID-19 positive cases now in Palm Beach County, 2,867 (fourteen percent) were admitted to the emergency room. Of those, 2,073 (ten percent) were admitted into the hospital and 620 (2.9 percent) died.
These percentages have gotten slightly better, but the surge in total positive cases, and the average age remaining at 41 years-old is alarming authorities. Also according to the state’s DOH, the positivity rate of tests in the last six weeks is remaining higher than targets, at 12.78 percent for the county.
Of the Palm Beach County hospitals reporting there are currently 102 available ICU beds, which is 24 percent of the total. There are currently 613 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the county. Broward county has only twelve percent of their ICU beds available, and Miami-Dade has fifteen percent ICU beds available.
Chief Tomey admitted during the video update Friday that he thinks a lot of people are still not wearing masks when they should be. “I think wearing masks is probably the number one thing we can do right now. [it is] the biggest thing right now because we know it transfers from droplets. So either six feet distance like we are, or have a mask on at all times.”
Mayor Petrolia explains this morning, “Our businesses are the front line of defense. No one should be admitted inside a place of business without a mask. To flatten this curve, we again need to practice what we know works, limit outings, wear masks, wash hands often and distance.”
According to Johns Hopkins, as of Sunday, July 12th, the United States has approximately a quarter of the reported global cases, with 3,304,942, and 135,205 deaths. Florida’s (residents only) confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached a total of 269,811, with 4,242 deaths, and Palm Beach County has recorded a total of 21,018 with 606 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.
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.