Clay Health: No upticks in COVID-19 cases expected locally

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 11/11/20

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The local health department administrator believes the county won’t experience the same massive uptick in COVID-19 as other areas of the country.

Florida Health Department …

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Clay Health: No upticks in COVID-19 cases expected locally

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The local health department administrator believes the county won’t experience the same massive uptick in COVID-19 as other areas of the country.

Florida Health Department Clay County administrator Heather Huffman has been the point of contact for COVID-19 in the county, and she told the Board of County Commissioners during their Nov. 10 meeting the surge in cases for this winter have already happened here in July.

“We are, however, seeing an uptick in [the positivity rate], but that’s because of the number of tests,” Huffman said. “So from one week to the next, we [had about 500 more tests] so that will always result in an increase.”

Huffman said Clay County hospitalization and capacity remains stable with seven patients in the intensive care unit and 28 others in non-ICU rooms. She said count emergency rooms aren’t seeing an uptick in patients, either.

Clay County isn’t in the clear though – as with the rest of the nation – but private medical company, Pfizer, announced this week it has a vaccine close to market with a 90% effective rate. The annual flu vaccine also has a 90% effective rate.

Clay County’s free public testing is only available for those showing symptoms. Huffman said the state and counties were seeing employers were sending employees to get tested when employers should have paid for their own tests.

Tests in Clay County have been cut in half since making symptoms a requirement before getting swabbed.

Clay County Economic Development Corporation president JJ Harris told the commission the last quarter of employment and economics. He said April saw the highest point of unemployment at over 10%, but that the rate now is at 4%. He also said Clay County real estate is up almost 10%, with Middleburg leading the pack at 14%.

“Removing restrictions on business is helping things a lot,” Harris said in regards to Gov. Ron DeSantis taking the state into Phase 3 of reopening.

In other business, Aging True and its CEO, Teresa Barton, spoke to the BCC during Tuesday’s meeting about the impact a Clay County-based kitchen could make.

Aging True is responsible for elderly care and elderly meal delivery in four parts of Clay County: Keystone Heights, Green Cove Springs, Middleburg and Orange Park. Food is made in Aging True’s Duval location and then transported to different parts of the county.

Barton said this results in a nearly two-hour gap in between making food and getting it to Keystone Heights. She soft-pitched a Clay County kitchen. While they seemed interested, no formal action was taken.

Barton said this kitchen would have the capacity to do 3,000 meals a day and would significantly lower the time between creation and delivery elderly in Aging True care.

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