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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Jul. 17, 2020 3 weeks ago

Volusia COVID-19 cases still rising, county continues to stress importance of wearing masks

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Over 600 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last three days.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

It took Volusia County 100 days to reach 1,000 positive COVID-19 cases. Then, 12 days to reach 2,000 cases, nine days to reach 3,000 cases and finally six days to exceed 4,000 cases. 

Volusia County Florida Department of Health Administrator Patricia Boswell shared this statistic during a COVID-19 press conference on Friday, July 17, explaining that the county has reported over 600 cases of coronavirus in the last three days alone. Volusia currently has 4,768 cumulative cases of COVID-19, and the average positivity rate for the past 14 days is now 11.75%. Last Friday, June 10, the average positivity rate was 11%.

“Please, protect yourself when you leave your home and do the mitigation measures necessary to protect others," Boswell said. 

A total of 79 people have died from COVID-19 in Volusia, seven of which were reported in the last week. Of the 79, Boswell said 49 were related to longterm care facilities.

Boswell also reported that the number of COVID-19-relatedd hospitalizations has doubled in Volusia since the end of June. According to a COVID-19 dashboard created by Rebekah Jones, a data scientist fired by the Department of Health after she claimed she was being pressured to alter coronavirus data to aid in the state's reopening, Volusia County — as of Friday, July 17 — has 24% of its intensive care unit hospital beds available. AdventHealth Daytona Beach has 12 open adult ICU beds. Halifax Health Medical Center has 21 adult ICU beds, 4 pediatric ICU beds and 3 isolation beds open. The dashboard reports 143 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Volusia, with 59 total beds available.

Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley again urged residents to wear masks as part of the county's Step Up Volusia campaign. The county is still giving away masks. Visit volusia.org for locations. Kelley also reminded that funding is still available to help small business with grants as well as rent and mortgage assistance for Volusia families.

“This is not a government mandate," Kelley said. "This is a request for you to take some personal responsibility and put a mask on—a simple little thing like that will make a difference.”

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