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Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry

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‘Tough 30 days’: Jacksonville braces for wave of COVID-19 infections

COVID-19 is expected to peak later this month.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry addressed the necessity Thursday of safer-at-home” orders, issued by the city and the state on Wednesday.

“This is going to be a tough 30 days,” Curry noted, adding that the system, according to models he’s discussed with health care leadership, sees a peak beginning in a couple of weeks.

Duval County has 271 total positive tests, with 34 hospitalizations and seven deaths. According to AHCA, nearly 42% of beds are open, for now.

“There are models that show bed capacity starting to fill up mid-April … maybe peaking early May,” Curry said.

Curry also addressed testing, said there would be spikes in “what appear to be new positives,” but those wouldn’t show up right away because of the week or so it takes to process tests.

The Mayor pointed to Duval’s under 7% positive test rate (271 positives total) as evidence that, perhaps, the curve is flattening and “social distancing is having an impact.”

How much of an impact is an open discussion.

Asked about a New York Times report that showed cellphone data reflecting Duval County residents traveling more than virtually every other county’s residents during this era, Curry wasn’t surprised.

And the hope is for more flattening.

Golfing, an essential activity per the Governor’s Order, is also allowed in Duval County, Curry said, with “social distancing” expected.

Regarding food and other items from convenience stores, Curry urged hand washing and cleaning products from those potential vortexes of contamination.

Contractors, said senior staffer Jordan Elsbury, were deemed essential in the Governor’s order, including engineering firms and residential and commercial construction companies.

Curry also addressed the potential of cruise ships with sick patients landing in Florida, which he said he opposed yesterday in a Twitter post.

“My tweet was simply expressing on the front end … that we need to have an absolute guarantee” of safety for locals should a cruise ship land.

The concern is real.

“This virus is like a ghost,” Curry said, describing deaths in families and a destroyed economy as consequences of the virus.

“There’s people right now personally who may be struggling to find something positive to look forward to,” Curry added.

The Mayor’s hope: “That we come out of this kinder, gentler, less quick to attack each other.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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