Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry will address COVID-19 issues Wednesday, accompanied by other leaders pressing urgent messages.
Curry’s remarks are slated for 12:05 p.m. Wednesday, and he will be accompanied on the Zoom call by mayors of the Beaches communities and Public Defender Charlie Cofer, who will discuss the pandemic’s impact on the area’s legal system.
The remarks come as Duval County faces acute pressures, as demonstrated by fresh statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the week ending Aug. 2, more than 53% of ICU berths and one in three hospital beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients. Hospital admissions for COVID-19 accounted for more than 30% of all admissions, up 47% week over week.
Hospitals throughout the area are dealing with capacity issues.
There was some good news. The rolling average positive testing rate of 25% was down slightly from the rolling averages of previous days. But while that may be some qualified good news, Curry has had to defend the city, again, amid charges that Jacksonville was the “epicenter” of the current virus.
The Mayor was on Meet the Press Tuesday, where he pushed vaccinations as the solution to the pandemic. But he told the MSNBC audience the shots should be optional.
“I don’t think we should mandate people getting vaccinated, but I think we should educate them,” Curry said.
“We’ve seen an increase in our vaccinations in Jacksonville over the last couple of weeks,” Curry said, as people become more aware that younger people are currently affected.
Curry mentioned Jacksonville’s previous mask mandate, and contextualized it yet again as a measure taken amid “unknowns about transmission” and a lack of vaccines at the time.
The Mayor has had two calls with Gov. Ron DeSantis in the last week, according to the official schedule from DeSantis’ office. A senior aide to Curry was coy when asked what the catchups were about, saying the two discussed the future of the region often.