Jacksonville coronavirus cases jump by more than 40

Duval County cases are now up to 366.

Saturday morning’s update on coronavirus cases in Jacksonville showed a jump of 43 victims, according to the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard.

Duval County now has 366 people infected with the virus. The overnight increase is more than the increase counted Friday, which saw a jump of 37 cases for the entire day, according to DOH figures. The agency updates figures twice a day.

The Jacksonville numbers also added one younger victim as the age range of those infected now spans individuals 4-97-years-old. The youngest victim before Saturday in Jacksonville was 5.

Out of the total number of victims in Jacksonville, 355 live in Duval County and another 11 of the infected do not live in the city. All of those cases are among Florida residents.

The number of fatalities attributed to the coronavirus in Jacksonville held steady at nine. But 39 people have been hospitalized, the DOH statistics showed.

Jacksonville officials have administered 6,497 tests with 5,967 of those coming back negative.

The city this week had to put limits on the number of people who are being tested at the free federal testing center at a parking lot outside TIAA Bank Field in the east end of downtown because demand was so high.

Jacksonville officials capped the daily limit at 250 people. At least twice in the past week officials had to halt testing because that limit had been reached.

On Saturday, officials advised residents seeking testing outside the Jacksonville Jaguars home stadium to be careful of a major road project beginning outside the site.

“… There might be an increase in traffic due to the Hart Bridge Expressway ramp detour,” a message posted on the city’s website said.

Many of the expressway ramps leading to the bridge that crosses the St. Johns River near the stadium are closed as of Saturday as a massive demolition project begins. The $39-million project is in preparation for a previously planned overhaul of the area around the stadium and signs will direct traffic to the testing center during the demolition work.

Meanwhile, another testing center that charges a fee remains operational at the west end of downtown Jacksonville at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. That’s also where a federal field hospital has been established that can house up to 250 intensive care unit patients should Jacksonville’s hospitals exceed capacity due to an influx of victims of COVID-19.

But a new DOH hospital capacity online “dashboard” shows Jacksonville is handling the demand from victims with coronavirus. Most of the 14 listed hospitals in Duval County have not reached capacity.

Duval County still collectively has about 1,700 vacant beds available, according to the DOH data.

Across Florida there were 11,111 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday morning. Out of those, there were 191 fatalities. Another 1,386 people were hospitalized around the Sunshine State.

Nationally, there were 278,568 COVID-19 cases including 7,163 deaths.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.


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