Duval County continues to see one of the highest positive test percentages for COVID-19 in the state — and by far the highest of any Florida metropolitan community.
As is tradition now, the Florida Department of Health released stats from the previous week regarding COVID-19, waiting until just after 5 p.m. Friday to release the data.
For Duval County, the number was especially ugly.
Of the many people queued up citywide for COVID-19 tests, more than one in four (26.9%) tested positive July 23 to July 29. That number was well above that of other major cities in the state, exceeded however by some rural counties.
All told, almost 1,200 new cases of COVID-19 were to be confirmed countywide: 8,308 for the week. The one bright spot: vaccinations, recorded at 15,583, were nearly double the case count, suggesting that the delta variant may plateau.
Northeast Florida generally saw high rates of positive tests. Baker County came in behind Duval, at 25.6%. Nassau, at 26.8%, and St. Johns, at 23.8%, were likewise behind Duval. Clay County, however, saw a 28.1% positivity rate, the highest in the region.
The new stats offer statistical ballast to the brutal narratives emerging from the region’s ICUs and emergency departments.
Earlier this week, one of the highest-ranking officials at Northeast Florida’s only safety net hospital sounded the alarm.
“Stay off my mentions with your ‘there is no emergency’ and denial of the situation. Come to any (emergency department) in Jax right now and see for yourself. Hospital census numbers creeping up every day without stopping,” tweeted Chad Neilsen, UF Health Jax’s director of infection prevention.
As hospitals struggle with the case load and the strain on resources, school districts are making decisions. Catholic students will wear masks, per an edict from the Diocese of St. Augustine, as first reported by Action News Jax.
Meanwhile, the Florida Times-Union reports that the Duval County School District will have an “adults only” mask policy: students will not have to mask up, as the district is complying with policy direction from Gov. Ron DeSantis opposing what he has called “muzzling” students with face masks.