Clay County hopes residents will heed safer-at-home mandate

County manager says ‘you know what’s critical’ as order approaches Friday

Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels is asking residents to please heed the safer-at-home mandate, which begins Friday at 12:01 a.m.
Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels is asking residents to please heed the safer-at-home mandate, which begins Friday at 12:01 a.m.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County has had a smooth transition into distance learning, a drop in crime and is asking residents to police themselves as a safer-at-home mandate prepares to begin on Friday.

A question as that deadline gets closer — what can residents do, and are they in need of anything special if they must go out.

“Basically, I want to talk to each and every one of you; you are the enforcer,” said Clay county manager Howard Wanamaker. “You know what’s critical, and why you need to venture out, whether it’s groceries, gasoline to get, go to the pharmacy to get medications. … It’s up to you to do that.”

Sheriff Darryl Daniels said that his office is prepared to enforce Gov. DeSantis’ mandate, but asked residents to use common sense and not put the sheriff’s office in a position to have to do that.

“Effective tomorrow at the stroke of midnight or later tonight, we will be … in a posture where we're addressing those noncompliance issues,” Daniels said. “Don't place us in a position where we're having to have negative interaction with you and your family members as a result of your noncompliance with the executive orders.”

The COVID-19 cases in Clay County are up to 56, with six deaths, including one on Thursday morning, said John Ward, director of emergency management for the county.

As far as setting up in-county testing like that in Duval County, Wanamaker said that isn’t in process at this point.

“The supplies are limited," Wanamaker said. “We would really like to open up a site, but those supplies are limited both the test kits and the swabs. I believe FDA tests are starting to become available that are quicker and rapid. And I know one area hospital has ordered that and will become available. The limiting factor is that it’s just one test at a time on that. Note, it is quicker, five to 15 minutes, I know locally, it takes approximately six to eight days to get the test back.”

With so many moving parts during the pandemic and an unprecedented distance learning plan unveiled, Clay interim superintendent David Broskie said that he’s been blown away by the quick response by teachers, parents and students during the transition.

“I am absolutely amazed at the creativity of our teachers, the dedication of our parents and of our staff, their flexibility in adapting to this new way of learning,” he said. “I know that we're all trying to learn our way through this and we're all going to get better each and every day.”

Among other nuggets from Thursday:

• Broskie said that Chromebooks remain available for students who need them. Roughly 12,500 have already been allocated to students.

• High school graduations are still on for now. “We have not, repeat, have not, that's not, canceled graduation. At this point, we're still looking into that. Of course, we’re concerned, but we haven't gotten any further guidance as far as timeline goes.”

• Daniels said that the sheriff’s office has not seen a boost in crime or residents who were not heeding warnings or measures to close businesses or other violations: “Luckily, here in Clay County, no, we have not seen noncompliance issues spiking.”

Posted by Clay County, Florida Emergency Management on Thursday, April 2, 2020

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