JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the surge in coronavirus cases in Florida continues to swell, News4Jax is keeping an eye on how certain ZIP codes are faring in Jacksonville.
Some of the “hot spot” areas around town are to be expected, like Jacksonville Beach, which has seen bars and restaurants close as cases have more than doubled in the last week. The 32250 ZIP code of Jacksonville Beach reported 71 total cases on June 16. By Monday, that total had jumped to 156.
But another area has News4Jax asking questions of the U.S. Navy. The 32212 ZIP code, which serves only Naval Air Station Jacksonville, reported 77 cases on Monday -- a jump of more than five times the total cases it had reported a week ago (15 cases on June 16).
News4Jax asked the Navy about the increase in cases on the base and what might be causing the spike. A spokesman for the Navy sent this statement:
“The Department of Defense does not release the number of infected individuals at the unit, facility or geographic area due to operational security. For an overall summary of cases in the Navy, please see the CHINFO COVID blog at www.navy.mil/covid19. The safety and welfare of our Sailors is our top priority; and while there have been reports of a small number of positive COVID-19 cases at NAS Jacksonville; there has been no impact to readiness or support of operations.
We are closely monitoring local, state, and national COVID reporting and continue to follow all DOD and CDC mitigation guidance.
NAS Jacksonville and tenant commands continue social distancing measures, minimizing group gatherings, wearing PPE and cleaning extensively.”
Elsewhere in Jacksonville, the Brentwood area on the Northside (ZIP code 32208) saw a 73.5% jump in cases in the last week, going form 102 cases on June 16 to 177 cases on Monday.
The Southside/Intracoastal area of ZIP code 32224 saw a similar surge with 115 cases on Monday, up from 66 cases on June 16 (74% increase). In another part of the Southside (ZIP code 32246), cases jumped from 109 on June 16 to 184 on Monday (68% increase).
These are not necessarily the ZIP codes with the most cases in the Jacksonville area, but these are where the increases have been most dramatic recently.
Mayor Lenny Curry emphasized Monday that while there is an increase in cases, hospitalizations as a result of the coronavirus are few -- with only 14 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds in Jacksonville.
Testing sites have also been swamped over the last week. Wait times at Lot J on Monday were between two and three hours.
Curry also said Monday that despite the increase in cases, he’s not inclined to make wearing masks mandatory.
“I do not think that is a prudent action to take. We do not need to have law enforcement out in public enforcing this. This is not an efficient use of resources, and we’re not going to prosecute people, ticket people and arrest people if they choose not to wear a mask,” Curry said. “But I reiterate this -- and please tell your friends -- please wear a mask when you can’t socially distance.”