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Duval, St. Johns counties set new COVID-19 positivity rate records

Positivity rates are a key indicator of community spread.

The two most populated First Coast counties recorded new highs in coronavirus positivity rates, according to Florida Department of Health data released Thursday.

Duval County added 589 new cases of COVID-19 at the end of Wednesday bringing the total in Jacksonville to 11,028. The positivity rate for all tests returned Wednesday shows one out every five people tested in Jacksonville has been infected. The positive test Wednesday was 20.9% in Duval County.

That’s the highest positive test rate in Jacksonville since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. Duval County has had an average daily positive test rate of 15.9% for the past week.

Jacksonville also recorded four new deaths attributed to the illness over Tuesday for a total of 74 since the outbreak began.

St. Johns County, a largely suburban area to Jacksonville especially in the northern area of the county, recorded a 15.6% positivity test rate Wednesday. That’s a new high for St. Johns, too.

That came after 115 new cases of coronavirus were added to St. Johns County’s count, ending at 1,632 Wednesday.

The St. Johns average daily positive test rate for the past week is 11.9%. St. Johns County hasn’t had a positivity test rate below 10% since June 28 when it was 9.7%.

St. Johns County opened a new coronavirus testing center. The free drive-thru testing location is at the Flagler Hospital parking lot located at 400 Health Park Blvd. It opened Thursday. The testing site is open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and is being paid for with federal funding.

In other areas of the five-county First Coast area, Clay County added 96 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday arriving at 1,254 total cases. Nassau County added 29 new cases and Baker County added seven new cases Wednesday.

Across Northeast Florida, there are now 14,446 cases of coronavirus, that’s up by 836 infections from Tuesday’s figure. There are 123 deaths due to the infection and there have been 641 hospitalizations.

Across Florida, 232,718 people have tested positive for COVID-19, 4,009 people have died and 17,167 have been hospitalized.

Editor’s note on methodology: The Florida Department of Health releases new data every morning around 10:45 a.m. The total number reported in those daily reports include the previous day’s totals as well as the most up to date data as of about 9:30 a.m.

Florida Politics uses the report-over-report increase to document the number of new cases each day because it represents the most up-to-date data available. Some of the more specific data, including positivity rates and demographics, considers a different data set that includes only cases reported the previous day.

This is important to note because the DOH report lists different daily totals than our methodology to show day-over-day trends. Their numbers do not include nonresidents who tested positive in the state and they only include single-day data, therefore some data in the DOH report may appear lower than what we report.

Our methodology was established based on careful consideration among our editorial staff to capture both the most recent and accurate trends.

Written By

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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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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