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As testing increases, COVID-19 positives unchanged

Tim Croft

The Florida Department of Health and its health care partners continue to increase testing for COVID-19, but the number of positive cases in the county remains at just one.

And that Wewahitchka female has long since recovered.

In the past couple of weeks, the Florida Department of Health has launched a statewide initiative to test at least 2 percent of each county’s population each month.

That has rapidly increased testing locally, as the number of tests jumped by nearly 100 in the past week.

And with the prohibition on vacation rentals lifted this week, the message from the county is to open slow and safe, or as in the campaign by the Gulf County Tourist Development Council, “Wade In” to the new normal.

“This is a transition period,” said TDC executive director Kelli Godwin.

Social distancing, local officials added, is likely to be with us for a time as a central component of each phase of re-opening; Florida is currently in the second phase.

The focus continues to be primarily the at-risk populations of those over 65 or individuals with underlying health conditions or weak immune systems, said Sarah Hinds, executive director of the Florida Department of Health in Gulf County.

As of Wednesday’s press time, 352 tests for coronavirus had been performed in Gulf County, according to the Florida Department of Health dashboard.

More tests have likely been performed, Hinds said, but there can be a lag on results from private labs.

The number of positive Florida residents is 46,944, up almost 6,000 from the 40,804 cases the prior week, a marked increase in new infections compared to the three prior weeks.

There are 8,494 hospitalizations compared to 7,418 hospitalizations a week ago.

Deaths have risen from 1,779 to 2,052, again a slight increase percentage-wise compared to the two prior weeks.

The state had performed 717,162 COVID-19 tests as of Wednesday, up more than 200,000 from the week before.

Every Florida county has at least one positive case.

The FDOH dashboard may be found at