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By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – State and county health officials are breathing a sigh of relief as new COVID-19 cases have been on the decline, with three days in a row with under 5,500. Palm Beach County has also seen a decline since the weekend, however the test positivity rate is too high to contact trace and the death rate is at a record level.

COVID-19, Coronavirus, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
Palm Beach County has had a decline in new cases, however an additional 21 people were reported dead today, matching a record high set twice in July, image recreation.

Today, Wednesday, August 5th, Florida has 502,739 cases with 7,751 deaths; Palm Beach County has 35,283 cases with 897 deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health. Palm Beach County has had an additional 21 people reported dead today, matching a record high set twice in July.

Yesterday, on August 4th, the Board of County Commissioners held a virtual board meeting to review and discuss local COVID-19 mitigation efforts again. Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County, said statewide, the overall positivity rate is 13.09 percent.

She explained that the county’s is slightly lower at 13.03 percent, as of August 3rd. The daily lab positivity rate, a key indicator of how much of the virus is actually in the community, stands at 9.09 percent statewide and 9.8 percent in Palm Beach County, as of August 2nd.

“We want to go all the way down to five percent to be able to have effective contact tracing and be able to stop the spread of the COVID,” said Dr. Alonso. “The virus is not going to be stopped by contact tracing. That’s only a tool. The virus can only be stopped by social distancing [and] wearing of the masks.”

In Delray Beach there are 2,368 COVID-19 cases according to the Florida COVID Action site, a month ago it was 1,106. Delray Beach Fire Chief Keith Tomey shared last week, “It’s hard to say how history will write this, but I do think people not wearing masks has played a role in the spread of the coronavirus.”

Adding, “There are statistics that show how protected a person is with no mask, wearing a mask and someone else not, with both people wearing a mask and both wearing a mask and social distancing, and that is by far the highest protection.”

To help with the devastating economic impact from the coronavirus, the City of Delray Beach provides a food assistance list where those in need can get food. From prepared meals for pick-up, grocery pick-up, food panties and even delivery options.

Palm Beach County’s Interactive Testing Map has over seventy testing sites, and can help residents find the closest private or community based testing location for them.

The County is also planning to increase the fines for those who violate the coronavirus emergency executive order rules.

For more information or to contact the COVID Education Compliance Team, please call 561-24COVID (561-242-6843) or email covidcompliance@pbcgov.org.

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