Health department: County’s COVID-19 vaccination rate slowly improving

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 6/9/21

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The county’s vaccination rate is slowly climbing toward the goal of 70%, but there’s still a long way to go.

Clay County Florida Department of Health administrator …

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Health department: County’s COVID-19 vaccination rate slowly improving


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The county’s vaccination rate is slowly climbing toward the goal of 70%, but there’s still a long way to go.

Clay County Florida Department of Health administrator Heather Huffman told the Board of County Commissioners at their June 8 meeting the county’s total vaccination rate, which is for people 12 years of age and older – the youngest allowed to be inoculated – is at 39%. That’s halfway to the herd immunity goal of 70%.

Huffman said because many younger people are still in Round 1 of the COVID-19 vaccine, of which there are two on the market that require two doses, the percentage is lower. As more young people in Clay County get their second vaccine, the number is expected to rise.

It’s great news for Clay County, but Huffman urged anyone listening during the now is the best time to get vaccinated. Not only is the county offering a $10 grocery voucher at its public office at 3229 Bear Run Blvd. in Orange Par, but the vaccine is “free, no cost, no charge,” right now. Huffman said she’s not aware of a time when the vaccine won’t be free, but considering it’s guaranteed free right now, the best time to get vaccinated is right now.

As far as COVID-19 numbers go, she said the cases have remained at the 10-20 positive cases range and she doesn't expect it to increase. The state recently switched how it reports cases, however – instead of updating numbers daily, it’s doing it on a weekly basis now.

Elsewhere, Huffman said the county has completed the flu season with essentially “zero” cases. There’s a lot of factors that likely contributed to this. People were more conscious of sanitation, products and workspaces were retrofitted to help prevent COVID-19, people wore masks and many remained home when possible.

“We are not seeing an uptick of anything else strange,” Huffman said. “We’re seeing [foodborne outbreaks] and stuff like that, but that’s typical of this time of the year.”

She also said the COVID-19 vaccine is all right to receive at the same time as other vaccines, specifically those shots required for things like elementary, junior and high school and college.

In other business, one Orange Park man pleaded his case to the BCC as a preemptive way to stop a development that could be coming to the Orange Park Country Club.

Bill Engelbrecht said the club’s president was told a developer has plans to build a single and multifamily housing unit on the now-defunct golf course. He said the current planned unit development doesn’t allow “additional homes in excess of 629 development family sites” and that as a result, the developer of the project would need to make a PUD change request to the county’s planning committee and the BCC.

“I implore you that when this happens, you deny...the request,” Engelbrecht said. “This is not the right project nor is it the right place.

“It’s not compatible with the neighborhood. I know you have received lots of emails about the possible development of the defunct golf course.”

He said since the county is built on a clay foundation, such a project in the country club would require a lot of excavation, which translates to a lot of trucks taking clay away and bringing fill dirt in. According to Engelbrecht, this could cause a traffic problem as the club only has one entrance and that it could affect Blanding Boulevard and the safety of residents in the area.

“This would devalue the homes which means less property income tax,” Engelbrecht said. “If additional home sites are approved, you’d have to consider the...additional strain it would put on [school, fire and police]. I’m not anti-development but this development project is not the right time or the right place.”

The BCC doesn’t usually comment on what public speakers say, so nobody on the dais responded to Engelbrecht’s request.


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