Positive COVID-19 diagnoses continue to be a trend statewide, and Northeast Florida faces an especially acute problem.
That’s the story told by the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, encompassing the week of July 2-8.
Jacksonville and surrounding areas continue to see positive test rates well above those in the rest of the state, which are up this week to 7.8% from 5.2% the week before.
Duval County saw 2,122 new cases for the week, and a staggering 15.7% rate of positive tests. The numbers are worse than the week prior. From June 25 to July 1, Duval County reported 1,420 cases, with an 11.1% positive test rate.
Bedroom counties show similar trendlines of viral growth.
Baker County, which includes MacClenny, had a 22.9% positive test rate during the reporting period. That was up from a 16.4% positive testing rate, among the highest in the state, the previous week.
However, Baker wasn’t the highest in the region this week. That distinction went to Bradford, which saw a 23.3% rate of positive tests. That was up from 13.4% the week prior.
Clay’s positive test rate soared to 16.1% over the same period, up nearly 6 percentage points from the week before.
Nassau County’s 17.6% positive rate was up also, more than 4 percentage points week over week.
Meanwhile, the brightest spot in the region is still affluent St. Johns County. Though even there, the positive test rate of 13.4% was well above the state average. It was also up 3.5% from the week before.
Anecdotal evidence of the problems the resurgent virus is creating is evident, especially in Duval County’s governmental affairs.
The Duval County Jail and court system wrestle with the potential problems created by viral spread everywhere from First Appearance Court to the aging and overcrowded lockup itself.
Meanwhile, a member of the Jacksonville City Council has been hospitalized with the virus.
Democrat Ju’Coby Pittman was in the ICU at a local hospital earlier this week. She is said to be recovering.
However, as those who have fought with the virus know, recovery can be a long and tortuous road. And for Northeast Florida, the task of taming the coronavirus has proven to be a persistent public health challenge, one that continues to recur in the pandemic’s second year.