Nassau positivity rate back into double digits

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  • Florida Department of Health – Nassau Director Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel speaks to the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners during a meeting Monday. GARY D. MORGAN/FOR THE NEWS-LEADER
    Florida Department of Health – Nassau Director Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel speaks to the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners during a meeting Monday. GARY D. MORGAN/FOR THE NEWS-LEADER
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Florida Department of Health – Nassau Director Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel said during Monday’s Nassau County Board of County Commissioners meeting that residents should remain vigilant in taking steps necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement encouraging Americans to continue preventive measures to guard against the deadly disease.

“The changes we have had to make to routines and daily life are extremely hard, but these changes are even more important now and in the future,” the CDC said. “We must stop the spread of
this new and dangerous virus. The more steps you and your family can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the safer you will be.”

As of Dec. 21, Nassau County had 4,136 total cases, including 3,844 cases involving Nassau County residents. A total of 64 people have died with COVID-19, according to Florida Department of Health data.

The positivity rate from Dec. 13-19 was 11.09%, Ngo-Seidel said, an increase from 8.5% a week earlier.

As of Monday, 12 people were hospitalized at Baptist Medical Center Nassau, with four patients in the intensive care unit.

“For every 50 cases we report, there is a potential for two hospitalizations and one death that may result from these cases in the coming weeks,” she said.

Ngo-Seidel encouraged residents to obtain a flu shot and said local health care workers have started receiving vaccinations against COVID-19. She
said she hopes long-term care workers receive vaccinations this week.

With Christmas drawing near, Ngo-Seidel encouraged residents to be mindful of scenarios that lead to super-spreader events.

“Our message is to avoid large crowds and large gatherings, especially those that are indoors, and (to) participate virtually if possible,” she said. “Stay apart 6 feet as much as possible, wear a mask, wash your hands, especially if you are going to be around older individuals, or if you are an older individual yourself, stay away from anyone who is a case contact or a quarantined contact.” 

Nassau County Director of Emergency Management Greg Foster said the county continues to possess a “large supply of (personal protective equipment) for governmental offices, municipalities and anybody else who is in dire need.”

He said Emergency Management is continuing to provide messaging from the state health department and the CDC.

After the health update, commissioners adjourned and reconvened as the American Beach Water and Sewer District to unanimously approve an application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a forgivable loan for sewer design costs. County Manager Taco Pope said on Dec. 4 the state environmental agency approved a $518,000 design fee for the sewer system. Pope said 80% of that loan is forgivable, and the remaining $103,000 will be paid using a previous grant and funds from Nassau Amelia Utility capital reserve funds.

Commissioners reconvened as the BOCC and unanimously approve the county’s state of emergency resolution through Dec. 28.

In other business, commissioners:

• Approved a workshop (Jan. 11) and public hearing (Jan. 25) for the Nassau County Conservation Lands Acquisition and Management Program;

• Approved a public hearing (6 p.m. Jan. 25) for potentially adopting the Nassau County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan;

• Discussed incoming commissioners’ ability to replace Planning and Zoning Board members. County staff will develop a recommendation about the start date for new members appointed by newly elected commissioners; and

• Discussed an upcoming workshop to consider the roles of the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council and the Board of County Commissioners. The workshop is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 11.