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Jacksonville’s COVID-19 positivity test rate falls below 5%

Northeast Florida surpassed 34,000 coronavirus cases Saturday.

Jacksonville’s COVID-19 positivity rate has fallen below the 5% mark for the first time since June, according to Florida Department of Health data released Saturday.

The rate dropped to 4.5% Friday.

While Jacksonville’s positivity rate has fluctuated for the past couple of weeks, it hasn’t risen above 10% since July 23 when it was 10.9%. But that figure has fallen sharply in the past few days dropping to 5.7% on both Wednesday and Thursday.

While Friday’s 4.5% is by no means a trend it is a key figure as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have said once an area consistently falls below a 5% positivity test rate, it is no longer considered a “hot spot” in the pandemic.

Jacksonville, which accounts for a vast majority of First Coast COVID-19 figures, recorded 208 new cases over Friday morning’s data for a total of 24,509 cases. There were seven additional deaths due to the illness for a total of 221.

Jacksonville COVID-19 deaths have surged about 25% in August alone. The city had just 157 deaths due to the disease on Aug. 1.

The five-county First Coast region broke the 34,000 mark Saturday. There are now 34,283 total infections, an increase of 343 over the previous day.

Now, 347 people on the First Coast have died from COVID-19, a single-day increase of 15 deaths in the region.

Elsewhere in Northeast Florida:

— Clay County recorded four new coronavirus deaths for a total of 65. Clay also saw 49 new cases for a total of 3,440. Clay also saw a one-day spike in its positivity test rate, increasing to 10.7%, which shows the unstable nature of the pandemic in the region. Thursday’s rate was just 4.2%.

— Nassau County confirmed two new deaths for a total of 13. Those are the first COVID-19 deaths in Nassau since Aug. 3. Nassau also added 19 cases for a total of 1,316.

— Johns County recorded a pair of new coronavirus deaths for a total of 44. Another 64 cases were added for a total of 3,948.

— Baker County added one new case for a total of 1,070 and no new deaths, remaining at four.

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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