The operative word among local government officials this week was complacency, as in let’s not have any despite continued positive news on the COVID-19 front.
Tests have topped 150 residents, Mayor Rex Buzzett underwent the test recently and called it easy and pain-free, but the number of those testing positive for COVID-19 has remained steady for more than a month.
The county’s lone positive remains a Wewahitchka female who was diagnosed early in the pandemic’s arrival in Florida and has long since recovered.
“This is not time to be complacent, though,” said Port St. Joe Commissioner Eric Langston.
Buzzett expressed concerns that as the beaches and boat ramps are open to residents, folks will become complacent about maintaining state and federal guidelines on social distancing, hand washing, etc.
“We have put a lot of emphasis on the spread of the virus and that has worked,” said Sarah Hinds, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Gulf County.
Social distancing, local officials added, is likely to be with us for a time as a central component of each phase of re-opening sketched out by President Donald Trump for re-opening states and the country.
Florida is currently in the first phase.
The focus continues to be primarily the at-risk population, people over 65 or individuals with underlying health conditions or weak immune systems.
Buzzett said he underwent the test due to his age putting him in the vulnerable population.
PanCare and other health providers continue to test those who meet the CDC criteria for testing for COVID-19, Hinds said.
As of Wednesday’s press time, 156 tests for coronavirus had been performed in Gulf County, according to the Florida Department of Health dashboard.
That’s an increase of nearly 30 new tests since the same time last week.
The number of positive Florida residents is 37,439, up almost 6,000 from the 31,986 cases the prior week, with 6,330 hospitalizations, up from 5,222 over the past seven days.
Deaths have risen from 1,171 to 1,471, the number more than doubling the past three weeks.
The state had performed 467,553 COVID-19 tests as of Wednesday.
Every Florida county has at least one positive case.
The FDOH dashboard may be found at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/96dd742462124fa0b38ddedb9b25e429