COVID-19 not done with Northeast Florida

By A. G. Gancarski
July 5, 2021

Covid 19

Why are more people testing positive in the Jacksonville area?

Northeast Florida may be done with COVID-19, but the novel coronavirus isn’t done with the Jacksonville region.

Rates of positive tests throughout the region are among the highest in the state.

The most recent weekly tallies from Florida’s Department of Health, released last week, show the region well ahead of the rest of the state in case counts and incidence going into the Fourth of July Weekend.

From June 25 to July 1, Duval County reported 1,420 cases, with an 11.1% positive test rate.

That is the highest proportion of positive tests of any major metro in the state. For context, Miami-Dade and Broward are each below 4%, Palm Beach just over 4%, and Orange County at 5.3%. Hillsborough, which includes Tampa, was at 5.7%.

Duval, where 47% of residents have been vaccinated, and an additional 16.5% have had the virus, is not alone among Northeast Florida counties facing rates of positive tests far higher than the 5.2% state average.

Baker County, which includes MacClenny, had more cases (57) than vaccinations (50) during the reporting period. The county also saw a 16.4% positive testing rate, among the highest in the state, over the same week.

Just 28% of Baker County residents have had a shot, while 22.4% have had the disease itself.

The other counties in the region saw variations on the same theme, with low vaccination rates coinciding with a viral surge.

To the west of Baker, Bradford County saw a 13.4% positive test rate over the same week. Only 42% of its residents have been vaccinated.

In Clay County, 41% of residents have had a shot. Its positive test rate was 10.2%.

Nassau County saw a 13.2% positive test rate. Compared to many counties in the region, its 49% vaccination rate is robust.

Meanwhile, the brightest spot in the region is still affluent St. Johns County, though even there, the positive test rate of 8.9% was well above the state average. The lower regional rate is likely buoyed by a 61% vaccination rate. Nearly 17% of residents there have had the virus.

New figures will be released later this week, but the ones worth watching might be the week after when it will be seen what effect Independence Day gatherings had on the viral spread.

Coronavirus concerns haven’t been primary to local messaging recently, but COVID-19 has still been in the news. Seven Jacksonville Fire and Rescue crew members contracted the disease during search and rescue missions in Surfside.


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