By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – Another milestone was hit today, July 9th, as Palm Beach County reached 20,000 reported COVID-19 cases with the Florida COVID Action site showing 20,078 people tested positive. Eleven of the sixteen hospitals reporting have less than ten ICU beds available, and there are currently ninety ICU beds available.
Of the 20,078 COVID-19 positive cases in Palm Beach County, 2,761 (fifteen percent) were admitted to emergency room. Of those, 1,997 (eleven percent) were admitted into the hospital and 592 (3.2 percent) died.
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.
As the Palm Beach Post reported, Bethesda Hospital East and West, in Boynton Beach, and Boca Raton Regional Hospital are “temporarily rescheduling elective procedures” spokesman Michael Maucker said.
Yesterday, July 8th, the Palm Beach County School Board decided it was not safe to open school campuses given the surging growth of COVID-19 cases. The seven board members unanimously agreed to keep classes online-only for the county’s 174,000 students until the coronavirus pandemic improves.
On Monday, Delray Beach Fire Rescue 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.” Unfortunately, given the data trends for the state and county, he also admitted to the viewers of the City’s video update, “I don’t see any signs of us leveling off at all.”
According to Johns Hopkins, as of today, July 9th, the United States has approximately a quarter of the reported global cases, with 3,067,780, and 132,498 deaths. Florida’s (residents only) confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached a total of 232,718, with 4,009 deaths, and Palm Beach County has recorded a total of 18,656 with 578 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.