Clay County records 12th COVID-19 death as state’s toll passes 900

More than 28,500 have tested positive for coronavirus in Florida

A lab technician begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19 at Northwell Health Labs on March 11 in Lake Success, New York. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 79-year-old Clay County man was among 62 Floridians who deaths were reported Wednesday in the state Department of Health’s update on new coronavirus cases. The man, who is reported to have contact with a person with COVID-19, is the 12th to have died of the disease in Clay County -- the second hardest-hit county in Northeast Florida.

Florida is now reporting 28,576 positive cases of the disease among Floridians and others diagnosed in the state and 927 deaths. As of Wednesday afternoon’s report, 4,455 people have been hospitalized in the state.

Duval County has 936 cases and 17 deaths. Clay County has 259 cases and 12 deaths. Alachua County has 226 cases and one death. Four people have died in St. Johns County out of 195 cases

Tracking county-by-county cases, deaths

Among the new cases this week, Clay County reported its first case in a child, a17-year-old boy, and Duval County reported three new cases in children: a boy under the age of 1, a 4-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl.

Jacksonville has come under scrutiny after Mayor Lenny Curry’s decision to reopen the beaches on a limited basis for exercise. Curry said he’s following the data and that as long as people are responsible, and follow social distancing guidelines, the beaches can stay open with restrictions.

Curry’s approach to reopening the beaches was a central point on a phone conference Wednesday morning with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Reopen Florida Task Force.

Mayors from all across Florida and beachside hotel/resort owners were very interested in hearing from Curry about how limited access to the beach is working right now in Duval County.

Duval County’s model was well-received by task force members and might end up being the model for the entire state.

However the state moves forward, DeSantis said, testing for the virus and antibody tests will need to be expanded.

“The public will have a lot more confidence in the reopening if they see there’s testing in place,” DeSantis said.

Since early March, more than 290,000 tests have been administered in Florida, according to the health department. The vast majority (90.3%) of those results have come back negative. The state has not reported a number of people who have recovered from the disease.

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