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County reports second COVID-19 case

Tim Croft

After months since the first reported positive case of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health in Gulf County reported a second case Tuesday.

The individual is a 40-year-old female resident of the county and the health department reported the case was linked to positive in another Florida county.

The person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by health officials, according to the health department.

"We are working closely with the patient, close contacts and healthcare providers to ensure proper precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Sarah Hinds, Administrator for the FDOH in Franklin and Gulf Counties.

Public health efforts at this time are focused on contact tracing, during which infectious disease specialists work to find everyone who has been in contact with the positive case. Persons identified to be at-risk through the contact tracing process will be interviewed, evaluated, and educated on their risk factors and what to do.

As of Wednesday, county tests have nearly reached 900 and that was prior to drive-through testing held heath department at Lake Alice Park in Wewahitchka.

The number could be higher, Hinds noted, due to some lag time in lab results.

Mayor Rex Buzzett said the coming week would be critical given the incubation time of the virus and the Memorial Day opening of vacation rentals.

The number of positive Florida residents is 57,447; up nearly 7,000 compared to the 50,916 cases the prior week as the past three weeks positive cases have trended up.

There are 10,412 hospitalizations compared to 9,482 hospitalizations a week ago.

Deaths have risen from 2,259 to 2,530.

The state had performed 1.05 million COVID-19 tests as of Wednesday.

The FDOH dashboard may be found at

Burn ban

During a special session Wednesday morning, the Board of County Commissioners lifted the burn ban north of the Intracoastal Waterway, or essentially White City north.

That area, Administrator Michael Hammond said, has received sufficient rain to lift the burn ban.

In effect, normal rules requiring state permits for outside burning are back in place.

Commissioners cautioned that those who burn and allow the burning to get out of control could be subject to legal penalties, including the costs of extinguishing the fire.

However, the south end of the county has not received the same level of rainfall as the north and the burn ban remains in effect.

Commissioners, given forecasts of rain in the coming days, provided leeway to the board chair and Hammond to lift the ban if sufficient rainfall comes to the south.