BOCC receives FDOH COVID-19 status report

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Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel, head of the Florida Department of Health – Nassau County, gave the Board of County Commissioners and the community an update Wednesday on official statistics for COVID-19 testing in Nassau County and on free testing opportunities next Thursday.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, also known as the novel coronavirus.

Seidel reported that as of Tuesday, May 12, at 10 a.m., 2,047 tests had been completed, with 61 positive cases officially counted. Fifty-nine of those were in residents, and two were in “visitors.” She said the positivity rate for the county is 3% overall.

The median age for residents testing positive as of Tuesday morning was 49. There have been 13 hospitalizations and one death, according to Seidel: “Hospitalizations do not reflect those that are currently in the hospital ... (that) is the hospitalization rate for the entire time period.”

“The cases – we’ve had 21 in ZIP code 32034, 10 cases in 32097, 11 cases in 32046, 15 cases in 32011, and less than five in 32009,” Ngo-Seidel said. “Our overall case rate positivity is 71 cases per 100,000, which is less than the state rate of 195 per 100,000, and as far as test completion, our test rate is 2,372 per 100,000, which is a little bit below the state rate of 2,716. ... We are working hard to improve that test rate overall.”

Ngo-Seidel said the goal of FDOH-Nassau is to test 2% of the county’s population this month.

Ngo-Seidel added later that her department has completed 100% of its case investigations and case interviews within 48 hours. She also said the department is providing guidance and PPE to nursing homes, “checking to see if they have any unmet needs.”

Another case of COVID-19 was added to the county’s official total as of Thursday morning:  an 87-year-old male with no known contact with a confirmed case and no travel history. “The man will remain in isolation until released by public health,” according to an official Facebook post by Nassau County Emergency Management.

The next free testing scheduled as of May 14 will take place at the FDOH clinics in Hilliard and Callahan on May 21. The testing in Hilliard will take place in the morning and the testing in Callahan is scheduled for the afternoon. You do not have to have any symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested.

The department provided the following guidelines for anyone wanting to be tested:

• No more than four (4) people in the car;

• A form of photo identification is needed for each person to be tested;

• Bring your own pen to use when completing testing forms; and

• No pets in the car.

Specimens for testing will be shipped to a state-contracted commercial laboratory. Results of COVID-19 testing will be provided as the lab results become available to the
Florida Department of Health in Nassau County. Routine testing of prioritized high-risk individuals who are ill are conducted at the Health Department clinics.

Testing will include those individuals who are asymptomatic (without signs or symptoms of COVID-19) and wish to know their current status, according to a news release.

This point-in-time testing is not antibody testing, it is diagnostic testing to show if an individual currently has the COVID-19 virus. This will provide information regarding the number of active cases of COVID-19 within our community so we can best prepare and respond to this public health threat.

Testing will be offered, while test supplies last and weather permitting, on a first-come, first-served basis at identified locations across the county.

For more information for Nassau County, call (904) 875-6100 or visit Nassau.FloridaHealth.gov.

For information on COVID-19 in Florida, go to FloridaHealthCoVID19.gov.

The COVID-19 Call Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached at: 1 (866) 779-6121. Inquiries can also be submitted to the Florida Department of Health via email at COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

pegdavis@fbnewsleader.com