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County COVID cases continue to surge

Tim Croft

The curve is not flattening in Gulf County.

Last week’s front page headline spotlighted that the number of positive COVID-19 in Gulf County had reached triple digits after the county went nearly two months with but a single case.

In the past week, the number of positive cases nearly doubled.

According to the Florida Department of Health dashboard, as of Wednesday morning’s press time the number of positive COVID cases in the county had climbed to 192.

With local testing reaching 2,891, that is a positive rate of 6.6 percent, within the target range, according to the FDOH.

If the math is applied to the county’s population, that would translate into an estimated 700 positive individuals who have yet to be tested.

As of this time last week, the number of positive cases was 101.

The county added more than 50 cases alone over the weekend.

In addition, the county has now reported eight patients have been hospitalized, an increase of seven over last week.

There have been no reported deaths.

Two Port St. Joe businesses were forced to close at least temporarily, due to the positive cases among employees.

The surge is one reason Port St. Joe Mayor Rex Buzzett and the City Commission passed an emergency declaration Tuesday requiring the wearing of face masks in public.

A maddening aspect to the pandemic and the surge of cases locally is that the steps of prevention are similar to those recited every year during flu season.

Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, with warm water, at least 77 degrees F, and soap.

Use hand sanitizer, maintain social distancing of at least six feet wherever possible.

And, when social distancing is not possible, wear a face covering, as much for others as yourself, as was noted by local health officials.

Stay home if sick.

Local health officials are also focused on the most vulnerable, seniors, those with underlying conditions.

As of press time Wednesday morning, there were 365,244 positive COVID cases, up from 287,789 a week ago.

Hospitalizations have jumped more than 3,000 to 21,780 and deaths have increased to 5,319 from 4,409 as Florida is one of hottest of “hot spots” in the country.

More than 3.1 million have been tested in Florida.

The FDOH dashboard can be found at