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Dolphin unsafe: Coronavirus hits Jacksonville University

Aramark workers catches case.

The COVID-19 virus has insinuated its way into Jacksonville institutions, with the city’s namesake university. home of the Dolphins, being the latest.

On Good Friday, Jacksonville University reported the bad news: a food service worker contracted the disease.

A media release said “an Aramark employee working at Riverview Cafe on campus has tested positive for COVID-19.”

“The individual last worked in the cafe on Saturday, April 4th,” the release continues.

The cafe’, in accordance with prohibitions on in-service restaurant dining statewide, was open for takeout only for students still living on campus.

JU claimed it expected a potential case at some point: “for several weeks, the University has been preparing for the possibility of a confirmed case on our campus.”

Remediation has already begun.

“We are taking immediate steps in accordance with our COVID-19 preparedness plan. The University is coordinating with the Duval County Health Department on all necessary and appropriate steps.”

Among those steps: a closure of the affected restaurant and a probe of potential community spread.

“Riverview Cafe will close today while our partners at Aramark professionally clean and sanitize the facility, and we are also working with JU Dining Services to identify anyone who may have been in close contact with this employee recently. We will contact those individuals directly and provide guidance on next steps in coordination with the Health Department.”

Duval County has recorded 11 deaths from the virus, with 55 hospitalized out of 595 positive tests, as the state reported Thursday evening.

The jump in Jacksonville’s figures comes as city’s Fire and Rescue Department reported one of its employees tested positive for the virus.

All told, Northeast Florida had two additional deaths attributed to coronavirus Thursday while adding 60 more victims to those who’ve been infected by the illness so far, according to Florida Department of Health data.

Florida Politics’ Drew Dixon contributed to this post.

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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