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County COVID cases jump

Tim Croft
tcroft@starfl.com

One positive COVID case is apparently a lonely positive COVID case.

After going more than two months with a single positive case of coronavirus, the number of positive cases in the county doubled over the holiday weekend to 57 total, 52 of those cases involving residents.

The leap (and the holiday weekend began with the county reporting 25 positive cases) was linked to a single day of testing, said Sarah Hinds, Administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Gulf County.

On June 25, due to concerns about contact to several positive cases in Port St. Joe, the health department facility on Garrison Ave. tested well over 300 individuals.

The lines were long and the testing lasted for hours; the department tested another 275 Monday in Wewahitchka.

Those June 25 tests were sent to a lab newly online for COVID-19 and which was quickly overwhelmed.

The department is no longer using the lab, Hinds added.

The bulk of the results of those tests did not come back until the holiday weekend, more than a week later, and some not until the beginning of the week.

The outcome, Hinds said, was predictable.

“More testing of individuals, especially folks in close contact to positive cases will make more positive cases,” Hinds said. “That is simply what is happening as well as across the state.

“A good portion of the positive cases were from close contact to already known cases.”

The bulk of those folks were already in isolation, or even about to emerge from required isolation, Hinds added.

As of press time, the county had tested 1,920 individuals.

Incredibly, the virus is equal opportunity as 28 males and 24 females are counted among positive county cases.

There have been no hospitalizations.

“The goal still being to maintain medical capacity for folks who need it and protect the most vulnerable,” Hinds said.

As of press time, there have been 2.3 million tests administered statewide, according to the FDOH dashboard.

There were 210,594 positive cases with 16,425 hospitalizations.

In total, 3,841 residents and 102 non-residents have died.

The FDOH dashboard can be found at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/96dd742462124fa0b38ddedb9b25e429