County: COVID cases in Clay aren’t taxing local healthcare facilities during holidays

By Bruce Hope
Posted 12/30/20

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – While the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 are rising in Clay County, it’s not to the point of placing undue pressure on the health care infrastructure. Better yet, the …

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County: COVID cases in Clay aren’t taxing local healthcare facilities during holidays

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – While the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 are rising in Clay County, it’s not to the point of placing undue pressure on the health care infrastructure. Better yet, the vaccine has already arrived.

“The numbers are rising,” said John Ward, Clay County Director of Emergency Management. “Fortunately, people are recovering from it. It’s not really putting a strain on our hospital system, or our ICU beds or anything like that. But the numbers are rising, and we think that the surge that we’re seeing now is from Thanksgiving and not long after, and I think we’re kind of preparing because the belief is we’re going to have another surge after the Christmas holidays, too.”

The general feeling is that people are getting tired of taking the precautions necessary to stem the flow of the virus. People are also becoming complacent after a long year.

The Coronavirus vaccine has made its way to Clay County. The original shipment was delivered last week to healthcare workers at Orange Park Medical Center and Ascension St. Vincent’s.

“We are expecting, hopefully in the next week or two, to receive our first line of vaccinations,” said Ward of doses for the general public. “And that will be for our first responders and health care workers.”

Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order last week placing healthcare workers, senior citizens 65 and older into a priority status for receipt of the vaccination. That demographic is an estimated 34,000 people in Clay County, Ward said.

Ward anticipates a slow trickle of the vaccine into the county throughout the winter and hopefully by April an increase with more drug manufacturers increasing the availability of the vaccine.

“Once everybody has the ability to get the vaccine that wants the vaccine, then we’ll be able to level out,” Ward said.

The vaccine can’t come quick enough.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 29, Clay County reported 10,794 positive cases of the virus, resulting in 183 deaths.

Included in those numbers are 476 cases from the Clay County School District. The district’s biggest hotspots are Oakleaf High (55 cases), Clay High (46) and Fleming Island High (29).

The Center for Disease Control said as of last Monday, more than 1.9 million people have received vaccines provided by Pfizer and Moderna in the United States.

There were 179,400 doses in the initial wave of the Pfizer vaccine given to Florida, according DeSantis.

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