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Motorists formed long lines to get coronavirus tests at Lot J outside TIAA Bank Field Tuesday in Jacksonville. The site was closed Wednesday. Photo via Drew Dixon.

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First Coast shatters 15,000 cases of coronavirus

With the RNC coming, COVID-19 shows no signs of waning.

The five-county First Coast region cracked 15,000 total cases of coronavirus, according to Florida Department of Health data released Friday.

At the end of Thursday, there were 956 new cases of COViD-19 added to the Northeast Florida tally bringing the total to 15,403.

After several days of slowing the pace of new cases, Jacksonville saw a sharp spike Thursday, jumping by 744 new cases for a total of 11,772. It’s the not the highest single-day increase in cases in Jacksonville, but it’s close.

The huge increase in cases comes about a month and half from the Republican National Convention at Jacksonville’s VyStar Credit Union Veterans Memorial Arena. The four-day event set to begin Aug. 24 is already being challenged in court by a group of business leaders who are trying to stop it for fear that tens of thousands of GOP faithful descending on the city would only lead to a super-outbreak of COVID-19.

Jacksonville did see a drop in positivity rates, dropping from 20.9% Wednesday to 13% Thursday.

Duval County returned 4,954 tests Thursday, more than double Wednesday’s total. Duval County opened three new additional testing centers in the Arlington, Northside and Westside neighborhoods, which will likely lead to continued upticks in testing.

While Thursday’s testing results were high, it’s not a record number. That happened on June 27 when 5,887 tests were returned.

St. Johns County also saw a notable spike in cases Thursday for a county with a population of less than 500,000. There were 98 new cases in St. Johns County Thursday bringing the total number to 1,730. The county added one new death, brining its total to 10.

St. Johns also saw a dip in positivity rates, dropping from 15.6% Wednesday to 10.3% Thursday.

Elsewhere on the First Coast, Clay County added 74 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, arriving at 1,328. Clay also added one new death increasing to 35 total. Nassau County added 33 new cases and Baker County added eight.

Across Northeast Florida, there are now 125 deaths and 673 hospitalizations.

Statewide, 244,151 people have been infected in Florida, 4,102 have died from COVID-19 and 17,602 have been hospitalized.

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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