County COVID-19 numbers continue to rise

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Nassau County Emergency Management director says 65 new cases reported during weekend

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During a county commission meeting on Monday, Nassau County Emergency Management Director Greg Foster said 65 positive tests for the coronavirus were reported over the weekend.

“There is nothing, based on our observations, that is causing this other than the normal progression. We are not seeing a large surge in schools,” Foster explained and added that his department continues with aggressive Florida Department of Health messaging.

In addition, according to Emergency Management’s Facebook page on Monday evening, “DOH-Nassau’s epidemiologists are investigating 10 new cases today. Sadly, they are also reporting a 54th Nassau County resident has succumbed to complications of COVID-19. The resident was an 80-year-old female. We want to extend our condolences to her family and loved ones. Please take steps to keep from infecting your loved ones who might get very ill from the Novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. Remember that anyone over 65 years of age is at increased risk, as are pregnant women, anyone with diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, kidney disease, an autoimmune disease, or any other chronic health concern. And infectious carriers of the Novel SARS-CoV-2 virus may not feel or look sick.”

Foster attended the meeting remotely, as did Commissioners Aaron Bell and Klynt Farmer, who were advised against voting on any items during the meeting by County Attorney Mike Mullin.

According to Mullin, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order in March allowed commissioners to attend meetings remotely and vote even though a physical quorum wasn’t in the meeting room, but that order expired Nov. 1. The only exception for attending remotely and still being allowed to vote would be medical, Mullin said.

“It is my opinion that they could not vote. They certainly could participate in the discussion but not in the actual vote, based upon the attorney general’s opinions,” said Mullin, who commended the two commissioners “for appearing in whatever location they are in now.”

Thomas Ford, John Martin and Jeff Gray, the three commissioners who did physically attend the meeting, voted unanimously to accept the meeting’s consent agenda and:

• Approved the East Nassau County Planning Area Mobility Improvement Reservation Agreement with the Nassau County School Board;

• Approved a change order for a contract with Anderson Columbia for improvements to County Road 115 that adds $100,905.05 to the project and 41 additional days for completion;

• Extended the local state of emergency related to COVID-19 through Dec. 2; and

• Canceled a Dec. 28 meeting that will be rescheduled for sometime in January.

In an unrelated vote, the commissioners also voted to change a 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, meeting to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, due to scheduling conflicts.

Commissioners also appointed Martin as the county’s liaison to The Fire Watch, a Northeast Florida organization that works to end veteran suicide. Martin served more than 20 years in the Navy and also worked for 13 years as the county’s veteran affairs officer.