COVID-19 cases are increasing

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Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel, the head of the county’s health department, told the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners Wednesday that there has been a significant increase in the cases of COVID-19 in the county, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus.

Ngo-Seidel reported 570 officially confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been counted as of Tuesday, with 548 being county residents. That number has more than doubled in two weeks. On Thursday it was up to 603 “confirmed cases among all residents.” This is cumulative since reports began March 11.

“The current number released by Public Health from isolation to date is 217 of our residents, but that leaves 331 or more in isolation,” Ngo-Seidel said Wednesday, adding the rate of positivity has continued to rise and “is currently 10% which is significantly more than reported earlier.”

Ngo-Seidel reported there has been an increase in hospitalizations for a total of 34 residents during their infection.

“We currently have six at Baptist Nassau and one in a hospital in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, there was another death this week,” she explained. Ngo-Seidel stressed that those who are ill need to stay home. “If you test positive, please isolate from your contacts. There will be an immediate delay in reaching you due to the large number of cases within our county and our region. If you are notified as a contact, please quarantine for 14 days for your observation period, and realize that any negative test result does not decrease the 14-day observation quarantine period. For all others, stay away from crowded places and closed in places, stay six feet apart, wear your face covering when you are around others you don’t live with, wash your hands and please disinfect,” Ngo-Seidel said.

Free drive-through/walk-up diagnostic testing is scheduled for the following dates. You must take some form of identification. Testing is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. Call (904) 875-6100 if you have questions:

• July 21 –  FDOH – Nassau County Hilliard Clinic, 37203 Pecan St., Hilliard.

• July 23 – Fernandina Beach Middle School (bus loop), 315 Citrona Drive, Fernandina Beach.

• July 28 – FDOH – Nassau County Callahan Clinic, 45377 Mickler St., Callahan.

A COVID-19 call center is available 24/7 (866) 779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov.