By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – A grim record was set today in Palm Beach County as overnight 27 new COVID-19 related deaths were reported. That means there were 104 deaths reported since last Friday, making it the most tallied in a single week as well, according to the Florida Department of Health.
In the State, after a three-day string of days under 5,500 new COVID-19 cases, the past two days have exceeded 7,500. This is a reduction from the daily numbers during the entire month of July, however it still reflects an explosion of new cases that started in June for Florida.
Delray Beach now has 2,418 cases, more than double a month ago. Former Mayor of the City, Jeff Perlman, has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for the last month, and wrote today on social media, “Today marks one month at Bethesda Hospital. 30 days of being in a bed, a month of not seeing family and missing life.”
Perlman went on to share some details of fighting the virus. “So yesterday, was tough, he wrote. “I have some blood clots causing me extreme pain […] the kind of pain that had me screaming for hours. So the takeaway is you don’t want this thing. Follow the rules and be careful. That’s not political that’s common sense.”
Florida has 518,075 cases with 8,051 deaths of residents, Palm Beach County has 36,114 cases with 934 deaths for just residents. County Mayor Dave Kerner said today, “Obviously any new case in our county is not a positive thing, but certainly the aggregate number of 377 is trending downward.”
At the weekly press conference Kerner went on to talk about the COVID Education Compliance Team (CECT), and after an abundance of education, there will now be an increased focus on compliance enforcement.
“There have been, I would say thousands of inspections and interactions by this team, they go out almost every night, or every day. I can tell you that they will be out tonight, tomorrow and on Sunday.”
The Mayor said out of thousands of interactions that the CECT has had, there have been 52 formal written warnings issued and 24 closures. “I will say that of those 24 closures, I think all 24 related to that business not being allowed to be open.”
He also discussed ‘life safety issues’ which seven notices of violations had been issued, and can be penalized with up to $15,000 per day. He gave an example of the Playhouse 2 strip club in West Palm Beach, “these folks are innocent until proven guilty of course, but I will tell you that the media has had access to some of these pictures at the Playhouse 2.”
“It was as if COVID-19 didn’t exist in that space,” he said. “It was shoulder to shoulder. There was not one mask. And so, we will be going for the highest penalty possible and understand we put these under life safety because that is truly a life safety issue, if you’re encouraging or otherwise participating in the spread of COVID-19.”
Mayor Kerner also spoke about the ‘first in the nation’ mask program where Palm Beach County is direct mailing each of 660,000 households in this county a set of both reusable and disposable masks. Over two million masks will have been mailed by Tuesday of next week he said.
He also spoke about the contact tracing Mobile App developed to anonymously warn users if people they have been in contact with have tested positive for COVID-19. “We’re up to 2,700 downloads I’m proud of that. I encourage you to go on to the App Store, whether you have Google or Apple.”
In closing Mayor Kerner said, “I wish that I could tell you that we have all the answers, but what I can promise you is that we do hear your voices that we do feel, and share in your pain.”
Adding, “[We will] find a way to move forward during this very difficult, very stressful and very dangerous portion of American history, your challenges are not just being felt in Palm Beach County, you are not alone.”
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.
For more information or to contact the COVID Education Compliance Team, please call 561-24COVID (561-242-6843) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.