More than 400 patients in Jacksonville have died related to COVID-19 since March

13 more deaths reported in Duval County; 133 added statewide on Thursday

A Madrid Emergency Service (SUMMA) health workers conducts a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 in the southern neighbourhood of Vallecas in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. Madrid has a rate of infection 2.5 times higher than the national average, which is already three times the European average, including the UK. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) (Bernat Armangue, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With 13 additional coronavirus-related deaths reported in Jacksonville on Thursday, Duval County has now seen a total of 407 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic hit Florida in March.

Statewide, the Florida Department of Health reported 133 additional deaths Thursday related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 14,619 in about seven months.

Clay County reported three additional deaths, and Alachua, Columbia and Nassau counties each reported one. Flagler County had one death removed from its count by the department of health, which did not give a reason for the correction.

Of the 19 Northeast Florida deaths added Thursday, the youngest was a 48-year-old Clay County woman and the oldest was a 94-year-old Jacksonville man.

While Jacksonville and the state is now in Phase 3, local hospital officials are warning that residents still need to be careful.

As of Thursday morning, 23 people with the virus were hospitalized at UF Health, with 10 in the ICU and two on ventilators. That’s a big difference when compared to August where there were over 100 hospitalized.

UF Health said it is now looking to make changes.

“How can we think about new things we’ve got to deliver. We’ve got our PPE’s we’re great with contact tracing. We are still doing a lot of testing. Our colleagues in Gainesville have now developed a saliva test which isn’t in mass production yet and hopefully, we can bring that to the community,” said Dr. Leon Haley, CEO of UF Health.

At UF Health, there have been 86 deaths attributed to COVID-19, including two staff members. On the other side, they have sent 570 people home.

“Our oldest patient survivor was a 106-year-old patient,” Haley said. “She came in as a COVID patient very early and we were able to take care of her and get her home.”

But the hospital said it has seen a number of pregnant women and moms come down with COVID-19 and there have been some babies with the virus as well.

While the city and the state are now in Phase 3 of reopening, local hospital administrators are warning we all still need to be careful.

And as Jacksonville moves into Phase 3 — with schools, bars and sporting events now underway — there is concern that it could lead to another wave of cases.

“Those are things that may contribute, we don’t know,” Haley said. “So I’m not going to say it’s definitely going to make the spike, but those are risk factors continue to watch.”

UF Health has decided to ease up slightly on its visitation policy and allow one visitor per patient.

On Thursday, Florida added 2,628 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of statewide infections to 709,144 since the pandemic began.

There were 2,080 people hospitalized with the virus as of Thursday afternoon.

In Duval County, 118 new COVID-19 cases were reported Thursday. There have now been a total of 30,666 cases in Jacksonville.

The state Department of Health said Thursday that Wednesday’s statewide positivity rate for new cases was 4.65% — the 49th straight day below 10% positivity of new cases. In Duval, St. Johns, Flagler, Alachua and Putnam counties, the positivity rate was below 5% Wednesday.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, breathing trouble, sore throat, muscle pain, and loss of taste or smell. Most people develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.